Karla Kaplun

Karla Kaplun - HIGH ART
Karla Kaplun confronts colonial histories of her native Mexico through a multidisciplinary exploration of Baroque aesthetics.

Working across mediums of painting, drawing, collage, video and participatory workshops, she thematises the influence of Spanish conquest on formations of Mexican cultural identity through a distinctive visual language characterised by dynamic contrasts, fluid compositions and evocative imagery. The figures in her works emerge from tenebrous backgrounds and appear ensconced in surreal settings where classical conventions of visual perspective and rational structure no longer apply. An uneasy equilibrium between the living and the dead lends these depictions a macabre sensibility, reinforced by distinct lighting that reveals levitating skeletons and luminous spectres among the entangled limbs, twisted torsos, and outstretched palms of various human protagonists.

Kaplun’s visual vocabulary adapts an array of references, both sacred and profane, to configure enigmatic and unresolved narratives. Perceptual paradoxes abound in her paintings, reflecting the syncretic formations of Mexican identity wrought by three centuries of Spanish colonial rule. Contradictory expressions of reality and artifice, revelry and despair, underscore an embrace of the Baroque proclivity for emotional intensity through a deliberate use of jarring juxtapositions and a rejection of classical ideals of symmetry, order, and restraint. Throughout her work, Kaplun appropriates aspects of Caravaggio’s cinematic drama, Ribera’s morbid tropes and El Greco’s ethereal sensuousness, yet she deploys these elements to assert an implicit critique of power structures perpetuated by the European painting tradition and the painful legacy of subjugation imposed upon indigenous peoples by Western colonisers. Kaplun’s contemporary interpretation of Mexican Baroque borrows motifs and subjects from the Biblical canon and strips them of religious function, inverting Catholic mechanisms of sociocultural supremacy and reclaiming agency over representations of historical trauma.

Karla Kaplun was born in 1993 in Querétaro, Mexico. She currently lives and works in Mexico City, Mexico. Recent solo exhibitions include: High Art, Paris, France; Gaga & Reena Spaulings Los Angeles, USA; House of Gaga, Mexico City, Mexico. Recent group shows include: Lodos Gallery, San Rafael, Mexico City, Mexico; Aoyama Meguro, Tokyo, Japan; Britta Rettberg, Munich, Germany.





Curriculum Vitæ

Karla Kaplun - HIGH ART
b. 1993 in Querétaro, Mexico
Lives and works in Mexico City, Mexico

How Bright is the Sun?, Francis Irv, New York, USA
CARMEN, High Art, Paris, France
La Misión, Gaga & Reena Spaulings Los Angeles, USA
La Compañía, House of Gaga, Mexico City, Mexico

15 Bienal FEMSA, Léon and Guanajuato, Mexico
I Believe in God, Only I Spell it Nature, Lodos Gallery, San Rafael, Mexico City, Mexico
Sans Filet, Aoyama Meguro, Tokyo, Japan
The World Is Not Like Us, It Was Imposed, We Try to Transform It., Britta Rettberg, Munich, Germany
Cuerpos, Lodos Gallery, San Rafael, Mexico City, Mexico
To defeat the purpose: Guerilla tactics in Latin American Art, Aoyama Meguro, Tokyo, Japan
Nuevo manifiesto de cine mexicano, Lodos Gallery, San Rafael, Mexico City, Mexico