Maddox Gallery is delighted to host Partners in Time, a compelling exhibition of portraits by the Spanish painter Coco Dávez, which launches at Maddox Westbourne Grove on 9th March. Comprising pairs of iconic real-life or fictional couples – best friends, lovers, rivals and co-conspirators – the exhibition cleverly brings famous figures to life in the artist’s graphic, Pop Art style while never revealing their facial features.
Arriving hotly anticipated, the Partners in Time exhibition is the first time Dávez has depicted duos, rather than individuals, in her signature faceless style. Freddie Mercury is twinned with David Bowie; Andy Warhol with fellow artist Jean-Michel Basquiat; US President John F. Kennedy with his wife Jackie; and Vivienne Westwood with Malcolm McLaren, as well as cinema’s most-loved couple, Sandy and Danny from Grease.
Maeve Doyle, Artistic Director of Maddox Gallery, comments: “Coco’s Partners in Time flaunts the division between real and imaginary couples. The show covers a spectrum of relationship types from romantic to professional, familial, and artistic. Have these relationships been grounded in building each other up or tearing each other apart? This exhibition invites the viewer to play a game of guess who, questioning the role of traditional relationships and exploring the importance of certain people in our lives – who stimulates us and who completes us.”
Born in Madrid in 1989, Dávez took up painting aged 21. Then, as now, she cites Pablo Picasso – a master of deconstructing the human face – as her inspiration. In this latest exhibition of her work, Picasso appears for the first time alongside his close friend, the designer Coco Chanel, two creative giants who frequently inspired each other, creating a stimulating dialogue between the worlds of fashion and painting.
“I paired people who mean something to me personally, and who I associate together in my mind,” says Dávez. “With my choice of colours, I strive to find a mix that reveals a sense of the subject’s character. In the case of the duos, this combination of colours also reveals an affinity between the two members.”
Dávez engages with her celebrity subjects by finding the distinguishing features, such as hairstyles, clothing, and accessories, that are central to their personas and interpreting them in vivid harmonies of shape and colour. Ranked as one of the great 21st-century inheritors of the Pop Art tradition, the artist’s decision to omit faces is open to widespread interpretation. Some view it as celebratory, while others regard it as a commentary on modern society’s obsession with celebrity.
Dávez held her first solo exhibition in 2011, at Pickpocket Gallery in Lisbon. Two years later, she began to paint her first faceless pictures and has since gone on to collaborate with a series of prestigious international brands, including Netflix, Jean Paul Gaultier and Bombay Sapphire. In 2019, she was named in Forbes magazine’s prestigious “30 Under 30” list of standout young creatives.
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