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By WM September 11, 2023

From the press release: 

Asya Geisberg Gallery is pleased to present new work by Rodrigo Valenzuela and Gabriela Vainsencher at the inaugural edition of PHOTOFAIRS, New York. The two artists share South American backgrounds, and each approaches photography as a blueprint for 3-dimensional interplay and cultural questioning.

Rodrigo Valenzuela’s newest series, Garabatos, depict his tableaux of wood and plaster sculptures painted white. Each image is meant to evoke figurative gestures of insults from varying nationalities, i.e. “flipping the bird.” The title Garabatos can be translated to "scrawl", however, colloquially, a garabato is also an insult screamed on the streets or stadiums in Chile. Valenzuela is interested in abstract gestures that are part of the collective lexicon, a desperate attempt to communicate. He analyzes the guttural social responses to unfairness and anger with nuanced, empathetic, and intriguingly aestheticized results.

Gabriela Vainsencher acquired a 1987 exhibition catalogue “Treasures of the Bible Lands,” which featured photographic documentation of the artifacts of the myriad ancient civilizations that lived in the Middle East. Vainsencher physically and conceptually mined the book by cutting up and layering the pages, and in turn producing photographs. By making holes in the photos, Vainsencher edited out the objects, leaving only negative spaces and the shadows cast on their lurid backgrounds. These ravaged pages became fuel for images that call to mind the holes in the ground after an archeological expedition has departed; or the memory left behind by something that has been taken away. They also point to the fraught relationship between the archeological record and claims of ownership over land and narrative in the Middle East. WM