Juan Bolivar (Born, 1961, Caracas, Venezuela) is a London-based artist and curator.
Bolivar’s art negotiates the tension between meaning and form. He combines elements from disparate sources to investigate hybridity, language and abstraction. His work often re-enacts seminal Canons of Modernist painting such as Kazimir Malevich's Black Square or works from Malevich's late period, using this context of interpretation to create new meanings from the sublime to the ridiculous. Bolivar says that he wants "... to make slightly mischievous paintings... thought experiments that invite the viewer to question the understood significance of historical works." This "mischievous" approach manifests in a variety of visual puns and tromp l'oeil effects, motifs that expose the inner workings of these pictures and the illusionistic nature of representation.
As an independent curator he has worked on over 50 exhibitions with a focus on multidisciplinary practices and polysemic cultural dialogues.
His work is included in The Government Art Collection, and has been selected for significant exhibitions such as New British Painting, John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton (2004), East International at Norwich School of Art (2007), and Nanjing International (2015), where he was a prize winner. Recent residencies and exhibitions include Macro Museum, Rome (2019), Bauhaus Museum, Dessau (2019) and Bauhaus-Universität Weimar (2021). He has also twice been the recipient of a Pollock Krasner award (2001/2009).
Bolivar is returning to JGM Gallery in Autumn 2023 for his second solo exhibition in the space, On The Road Again, featuring new paintings which explore the theme of the ‘long-haul’, used by the artist as a metaphor for the creative journey and the isolation of the studio.