— September 26, 2023
“The Capitonê print from our 2024 summer preview began to be created with strokes of paint on a canvas based on a commission. We had a pleasant chat with Kika regarding her intention to transform images and what techniques she uses. READ MORE
The Capitonê print from our 2024 summer preview began to be created with strokes of paint on a canvas based on a commission. Rio de Janeiro artist Kika Diniz began her career around 2016, deconfiguring female bodies represented in the mainstream and questioning the eroticism that these images evoke; she delved into the universe of algorithms, letting herself be carried away by the repetitive imposition of images that networks offer to create based on them, and amid her new series of paintings, she painted a leather chair with a tufted finish which became our print. We had a pleasant chat with Kika regarding her intention to transform images and what techniques she uses.

Kika, your paintings are characterized by strong brushstrokes, one can

almost smell the paint. What is your process like and how do you choose the
materials and techniques you employ?

My painting has the very specific trait of being fast. Acrylic paint lends itself well to the speed I usually employ since the time it takes to dry is very short. This also brings forth other matters, such as the impossibility of erasing what has been done.
I work with the idea that there are no painting mistakes, there is a dialogue between creating and what is being created, a confidence in the process and what the process itself brings to the images. This is why, many times, the final result is barely similar to the initial image. The image is a starting point.

For our current collection, we created the Capitonê print based on your painting of a tufted armchair using this technique, commissioned by André,
our creative director. What is your relationship with this painting and how does it feel to see it turning into different clothing pieces with different fabrics and fits?

In the series I’ve been working on over the last 2 years, odeioestrogonofe, I use images that arrive to me through social network algorithms as a starting point for the painting. The process with André was a little different because he already had an idea of the palette to be used and the initial image of the tufted pattern, but he gave me the freedom to let the process guide me in the construction of the painting. I was impressed with how he managed to transform the painting into another art form. I loved the result and the dialogue it evokes between the materials used, the formatting, and the initial idea of what the tufted technique is. It requires an incredible artistic vision to manage to create this conversation between techniques in such a successful manner. That’s why, when I received the photos of the pieces, all I could say was: “André, you kick ass”.

In your work making paintings from internet memes, you use reflective black
waterproof paint as a base for your canvases. In addition to being a clear
provocation that everything you add from there will be “superficial”, this
choice reminded me of the “theory of the smooth” that Byung-Chul Han
touches on when talking about beauty. He says the smooth, the sleek, and the
curve without interruptions or edges, are all traits of what is currently
considered beautiful. To you, where does beauty stand in your work? 

First of all, I have to thank you for introducing me to this theory, which I did not know of. Since I received the questions, I sought out his book and it opened me to an entirely new way of interpreting my work. The theory of the smooth touches on the lack of fissures and reliefs in what has been produced nowadays, a positivity of consumption that leads to likes and shares in social media. He speaks of autoeroticism in the experience of these images fitting into the spectrum of consumption and pornography. The smooth doesn’t present resistance and is devoid of depth and superficiality, as can be seen in the sculptures of Jeff Koons, produced, according to the artist himself, to create a “wow” factor, with nothing to decode.
My Master’s degree dissertation discussed pornographic images and their distancing from the order of desire, but since I concluded my Master’s degree, I focused on research on what could be considered pornography of images. I don’t exactly paint memes, they make appearances, but the “rule” is that the images come to me through algorithms (which are also responsible for the flattening and smoothness of the virtual experience), which read your preferences and send you content by them. An experience made for us to spend more and more time looking at our phone’s screen, with no resistance. As you put it, I initially worked on the canvas so that it is black and as smooth as possible, almost a black mirror, which makes the motions stand out in the painting, and the very fissures of the motions become evident. The brushes I use have hard bristles and demarcate the touch and the stroke even more, leaving traces of the process visible. When I came across the theory of the smooth, I started thinking about the cracks that the brush and the touch leave upon the images, about the inversion of the logic of smoothness of the autoerotic virtual experience of production, reproduction, and consumption. They are images initially made to be liked and shared, which Byung-Chul Han distances from the judgment of that which is aesthetic and beautiful by flattening the experience and ignoring its fissures, which, to him, are essential to beauty. In the pornography of the image, there are no holes, everything becomes transparent and turns into data. Communication and consumption reach their maximum velocity when equal reacts to equal, which is where the idea of autoeroticism stems from. The smooth suppresses the otherness, creating a digital beauty that bans the negativity of the non-identical and the algorithms work according to this logic. What I try to do is to admit this otherness of the image and the process of painting when I work based on these images. I always say that I work “based on” because I don’t look for an identical similarity to the initial image.
I believe that art is an eternal dialogue and painting is an “other” that must be heard during the process.

Are you working on something new now? What can you tell us about your current investigation in art?

I felt like I needed a break from images and algorithms and looked in other directions, so, for a few months, I worked on a series called Segundo Sol where I started from photos and videos of clouds to let the painting happen. The result was small landscapes with many layers being added and removed (still with acrylic paint and respecting the impossibility of erasure), nullifying the paintbrush’s motion.
Finally, pictorial points were placed with palette knives in random places, once again demarcating the motion and the creation of a relief. I think a lot about the flares from objective lenses, phenomena that occur due to the camera’s inability to capture the direct light beam. But, depending on who sees them, these small masses of color may seem like comets, asteroids, or spermatozoa. I like this idea of end and beginning, all together. Now I am returning to the Odeioestrogonofe series and working on both.

Kika is a visual artist who graduated in visual arts at EAV Parque Lage and has a Master’s degree in Contemporary Studies of the Arts from UFF. She was nominated for the Pipa Prize in 2022.

Discover the Capitonê collection here.
Text by Luísa Pollo
Images provided by the artist