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Rodrigo Valenzuela

The Duo exhibition Deviants at Galerie Kandlhofer presents photographs by Chilean artist Rodrigo Valenzuela, and sculptures by Iranian artist Reza Aramesh.

The new series of works "Garabatos" by Rodrigo Valenzuela (b. 1982, Chile) shows black and white photographs inspired by Rodrigo Valenzuela's research on Latin American subcultures and the music scene during the dictatorship years in the wake of Operation Condor. Operation Condor was a CIA-led initiative that aimed to neutralize socialist aspirations in South America by creating a network of cooperation between military regimes. Through the use of archival images, magazines, and film, the artist isolates the movements of bodies from documentary images, creating a vocabulary of gestures that subsequently become sculptures that are photographed. Reminiscent of a hybrid between a museum and a theater stage, the photographs represent an attempt to replace the ideology associated with the museum as a place of canonized beauty and information with a more egalitarian and sensitive place of common knowledge or wisdom about life.

The sculptures exhibited sculptures by Reza Aramesh (b. 1970, Iran) are part of the series of works "Study of Sweatcloth as an Object of Desire," which consists of life-size men's underwear carved from Carrara marble. The intended place of display of the objects represents the floor. The marble is shaped by deep cutting and polishing by master craftsmen to create the illusion of garments in keeping with historic European sculptural traditions. Each individual work, with its title engraved on the underside, refers to a series of historical dates and geographical locations of detention centers that the artist seeks to illuminate.

Due to the strong connotation of the respective work series to historical events as well as the illumination of social structures and ideologies, Valenzuela's and Aramesh's work series correspond with each other in an impressive way despite the use of different media. In particular, the thematization and treatment of human injustice and violence play a significant role in the oeuvre of both artists. By dealing with this subject matter in an artistically individual manner of expression, both artists succeed in a remarkable way in stimulating a penetrating contemplation on human behavior and social structures, which leaves lasting impressions on the viewer.


Image: Rodrigo Valenzuela, "Garabato #1," Archival inkjet print, 2023, 36 x 30 in, Edition of 3 + 1AP