Nicolas Lobo Tackles Consumerism at Gallery Diet

March 12th, 2014

M Daily Exhibitions • March 12, 2014

 One man’s trash is another’s treasure…or is it? To sort through the seemingly never ending tide of humanity’s refused objects and implements is a science all its own. Miami-based artist Nicolas Lobo fuses science (specifically the disciplines of archaeology and cultural anthropology) and visual art in an ambitious solo exhibition titled Bad Soda / Soft Drunk atGallery Diet in the Wynwood Arts District.

          For this exhibition, Lobo unearthed an abandoned trove of Nexcite, a discontinued energy drink created by Swedish company Magic House. Its apparent marketing ploy was to offer its consumers (specifically women) an energy drink that had inherent aphrodisiac qualities. Yet, sales all but disappeared after Pfizer, the makers of Viagra, thwarted their attempts to name the drink Niagra. By repurposing the blue plastic bottles, gathered in their original 24-count packaging, Lobo initiates an interesting commentary on the fluid nature of brand development, the eternal drive to capitalize on sex, and more importantly how our culture proliferates and subsumes consumption of the new.

Atop the gallery floor plastered in the remains of the failed energy drink, Lobo posits sculptures made from napalm and Play-doh. The polarities between childhood play and weaponized petroleum gel are simultaneously striking and unsettling. It is impossible to dissociate the famous Associated Press photograph of the little girl burned by the napalm bombing of Trang Bang in Vietnam: one substance meant for a child, the other designed to slowly burn one (or any person) to death.

          Bad Soda / Soft Drunk addresses difficult issues of over-zealous consumer culture and the rising dangers of foods and beverages with decidedly different intentions than to sustain or nourish the body. But, it does so in a way that appeals to the most basic visual desires with vivid colors, refracting light and unconventional physical formations.

          Bad Soda / Soft Drunk opens at Gallery Diet on Thursday, March 13 and is on view through Friday, March 28.