Exhibit Review: art.lies 101


By Kenneth Miller

Picasso once said, “Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, or at least the truth that is given us to understand.” He went onto to explain that, “the artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.”

The 20th century art icon was definitely onto something–or at least that’s what Brazilian collagist Loro Verz thinks.

As a skeptical, yet light-hearted guy in his 20s, Verz became fascinated with the idea of nondescript lies subtly being placed within praised art works that are now esteemed by the masses. We classify these images as noteworthy; they’re recognizable for a reason. But–if art truly does lie–are we being deceived by supreme artistry and unwittingly forced into believing fictitious happenings?

Enter Verz’s Instagram project: art.lies. As essentially a mockery of some of the most recognizable paintings in existence, Verz chops up renowned prints and juxtaposes them on top of less-than-familiar surroundings, allowing for new perspectives and “lies” to take place.

Verz tells me his project, which formally goes by “Great Artists Having Great Times,” was inspired by not only Picasso, but the surreal atmosphere of his hometown Sao Paulo.

“I have always thought living in Sao Paulo was like being trapped in a painting by Hieronymus Bosch,” Verz says. “My first idea was to literally take Bosch for a walk around the city by cutting images out of his surreal art books. [I then] looked for weird situations where I could replace real people and situations [with his images]–the result was hilarious.”

Undeniably so. At first glance, spectators look at what appears to be famed portraits and stills. But in the next, they notice Verz’s thumb and index finger holding the print over new schemes. Thereafter, it’s just a matter of coming to terms with the likelihood that Albrecht Durer couldn’t–in any reality–look so cool with a Diet Coke and a denim jacket.

Also: Did I just see Vincent van Gogh slaving away in a kitchen?

It’s somewhere amidst this modernized personification of classical imagery and bizarre, unlikely settings that truly sets off audiences.

Nonetheless, it seems what’s catching most spectators’ eyes is Verz’s medium: air collage. He tells me this is his preferred format, although it is not widely recognized nor valued within the art community. Verz goes on to explain that air collages are “any combination of distance, background and angle where there is no physical contact between the subject and the form.”

Art.lies’ acclaim is reflective of the modern art world we are entering, Verz notes. The simpler the project, the more receptive and graspable it’ll be for audiences. He plans on taking his newfound reputation within the art world to promote his original pieces, ultimately making air collages marketable.

“I just want it to be fun,” he tells me. “That’s the whole point of life, no?”

All images courtesy of Loro Verz.