July 02 – Sept. 03, 2022

68projects is more than pleased to announce Colombian artist Giorgio Celin's first solo exhibition in Berlin titled “Graduation“.

Giorgio Celin presents us with a series of works where he depicts what the migratory journey means to him from his personal experience, he himself growing up in Colombia and then migrating to a few different destinations in Europe. The characters in his glowing paintings have some kind of sorrow one can observe on their facial expressions and the way they carry their bodies, with movement and motion depicted in the way they hold themselves, having a kind of urgency making themselves seem inadequate in their context. The companionship and closeness that the characters depict whilst embracing one another create a sense of community, the people he paints are mostly characters that are marginalized and ostracized by society portraying an intersectionality of queerness and immigration. Raising questions of belonging and seclusion.

Giorgio Celin's first solo exhibition in Berlin titled 'Graduation' at 68projects.

“Insignias of queer subculture are merged with the formal language of his homeland as well as European visual languages. Influenced by Japanese comics from the 1970s and beyond, the self-taught artist explores interpersonal moments in a virtuous manner like few others in his generation. His paintings are warm and full of tension, the colours at times crazy and overwrought, and then again cloud-like and delicate. As if the colours themselves were cutting capers before coming to rest in a moment of perfect contentment.

HAIKU (amores de Grxxxxr, nunca duran), 2022
Oil on canvas
145 x 110 cm | 57 x 43 1/3 in

Gifts of a sleepless night (Crybaby), 2022
Oil canvas
125 x 90 cm | 49 1/4 x 35 1/2 in

The depicted scenes are rarely without a certain melancholy. They recall a time when distancing was not required. Looking at them, you think: ‘I would like that too’. His moments are so full of emotion that you can’t help but empathise and share the yearning. Celin tenderly explores the most diverse sensations, mostly between two people and their relationship to each other. Here, the hands are just as important as the eyes and the posture. Men in Adidas sweatpants or jeans dance or cuddle up closely, dissolving into one another. Sweat and emotional excitement are clearly visible. Often their faces shimmer with what seems like the blue light in a bar.

Celin’s pictures leave ample room for the imagination. They conjure up subtle smiles on our faces, infect us with their life affirming innocence and compel us to look deep inside ourselves.The paintings feature undefined or undefinable places of longing, as well as places that are familiar or at least recognisable. European metropolises like Berlin, Paris or Barcelona and, of course, Barranquilla, the painter’s native city on the Colombian Atlantic coast, known for its legendary carnival, included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2003. Giorgio Celin likes to travel to all these places and share the most colourful experiences with its inhabitants.

The queer figures in these spectacular images are not always clearly binary and their gender seems completely irrelevant.Everyone has similar experiences. Everyone belongs together in a shared world. We all learn from each other and want to be connected. Europe with Colombia, Africans with Indigos. All of us with the world.

I want Falafel! (Snow in Neukolln), 2022
Oil on canvas
195 x 130 cm | 76 3/4 x 51 1/4 in

La Barceloneta, 2022
Oil on canvas
115 x 90 cm | 45 1/4 x 35 1/2 in

figures W passport, 2022
Oil on canvas
115 x 85 cm | 45 1/4 x 33 1/2 in

Let’s be joyful and profound, a seeing eye and a warm heart. This is what Giorgio Celin wants to tell us with his vibrant, intensely expressive imagery.We should gratefully accept it. This beautiful feeling of finding something that often seems lost.”
(text by Hans Krestel)

“Graduation” is accompanied by a book Painting = Poetry released in March 2022, which features his artworks from 2018 until today. The works captivate numerous personal stories offering a broad perspective of what is going on in the Latin Diaspora community. The book includes the text by the art historian and writer Cecilia Monteleone (154 Art Fair), the writer, art critic Paul Clinton (ex Frieze editor), the curator Jaider Orsini (Plataforma Canibal) the art historian and writer Maria Gaia Redavid (Contributor Exibart). Published by Ludvig Rage, Editor Olivia Hontas.

Giorgio Celin was born in Barranquilla, Colombia in 1986, and currently lives in Barcelona. In his works Giorgio explores themes including migration, belonging, relationships and nostalgia. Celin’s work is influenced by his experience as a Colombian migrant who has lived in several European cities. He examines issues surrounding displacement and what it means to feel as though you don’t belong in any one geographical location.