May Not Load – Chapter 1: Friendship
Day after day, year after year, we interact with a range of people who cross our paths in a fortuitous staging of connections and disconnections that gradually give shape to our lives. An accumulation of experiences more or less striking, more or less important, more or less fertile. In this process there is a particular type of interactions of greater relevance that we file and stack up in that drawer that all of us carry within with the title of friendships, but even these come in distinct formats – some, enduring, adapt to life’s fluctuations, while others are limited to the contingencies of a certain period and end in due course. Notwithstanding, both are fundamental in the way they touch, influence, and shape us throughout a process of exchange, of mutual benefit, of sharing reciprocal experiences.
For Robert Panda, the friendships contained in his personal archive are not in black and white. For the artist who spent years on end painting in the urban space of his city, friendships are in colour. Each with its very own hue that reveals and identifies a personality, an experience. What the artist presents in “May Not Load – Chapter 1: Friendship” is precisely a figurative staging in the form of an installation where he reflects on some particular events that took place between himself and some significant friendships, in an honest approach that takes on contours that are either emotive and poetic, or judicious and critical. A reflection, in short, on an accumulation of good and bad events which configured him during specific and significant moments of his life.
In what intends to be the first moment of a broad intimist reflection, the installation we see in “May Not Load – Chapter 1: Friendship” is constituted by two elements – a video where Robert Panda weaves a narrative of a biographical nature divided into five connected episodes, together with a sculptural group formed by several piled-up figures with a symbolic character, each with its own colour, in representation of the relationships he alludes to. Throughout the video we see the artist venting his personal views as the pile of figures increases, haphazardly, in another plane. The staging is based on the colour code that identifies, by analogy, each figure, each friendship, but also emotions, events and things, revealing elements of the stories the author is reciting – of the way how the white became grey like the walls of the cities, of the pink which he himself aspired to be but ended up pricking himself on the brown thorn, of the reds pinks blues blacks and even yellows he gave to whom was already golden, or the green which when mixed with other colours always turns into brown. Of a whole organic complex of affections, intensities, wonderments and disappointments that express particularities of his personal path but which also easily find echo in our very own experiences, our very own narratives, our very own colour palette.