In a past interview with Christopher Plummer, the recently departed actor describes a live performance during the early days of television. Literally backstage in the dark, the artist gropes for a door to enter, sees a sliver of light and enters the scene to face the audience—but through the fireplace! Not what the audience expected, but maybe a happy mistake. The show goes on, life goes on. After all, who wants to experience art that is expected? Not fans of Paco Pomet, who await his new paintings with anticipation for that surprising twist that strikes like a jolt or a slow-dawning, thought provoking, head-shaker. Starting February 20th and through March 3, 2021, Galleri Benoni in Copenhagen presents Recent Paintings, the totally sincere title of Pomet’s new solo show.

Like the actor entering the stage through a chimney, Pomet provides what he calls a “healthy, entertaining visual adventure.” He sources vintage and family photographs, naive and modest in their intention and presentation,  paints the scene in greyscale, then ignites the scene with toxic green or incendiary orange, like a time-traveling catapult from steady sepia steadiness to radioactive reality. Inspired by Magritte and Dali, Pomet offers what seems familiar, then seduces us with his own method of What’s Wrong with This Picture (but turns out to be right.) Perhaps it’s been there all along, perhaps that IS the picture. Through his paintings we travel from past to future and examine our present in all its complexities. A painter of photographs, of portraits, of still life, or as Pomet, explains how his “landscape can be communion of beauty or melancholy or the vastness of death.” His work is a deep dive and always exhilarating. —Gwynned Vitello