By: Carl Straw, Seraphin Gallery Intern
Edited By: Alyssa Laverda, Associate Director
Seraphin Gallery’s Víctor Vázquez is currently featured in a solo retrospective at the Museo de Arte in Puerto Rico. His collection entitled Pulguero/ Flea Market, is a recalling of the last 30 years of artistic production, and runs from April 27th to the end of October 2017. His conceptual language, referred to as archaeological panorama, is developed through multi disciplinary techniques such as photography, installation, and sculpture. Through this lens he explores themes related to migration, memory, the body as a semantic structure, and the relationships between word and image.
In many of the works he expresses the demand for identity, ritual, politics, and anthropological inquiry. Vázquez touches on themes of the duality of language and meaning, as well as the relationships between nature and culture. His intentions are set to investigate and reflect on how the state imposes, reproduces, and legitimizes acceptable social practices. Walking through the collection viewers are interrupted by multiple pieces, all scattered throughout the gallery space. Similar to a flea market where multiple objects of interest are scattered, the installations are arranged to intrigue the viewer and pull them in for a closer look. Once there the viewer is able to see the relation to difference and demand for identity that drove Vázquez with each of the works.
After traveling to India, China, and Japan in 1982, Vázquez launched his artistic career. During this time he studied art, literature, and the cultural history of these regions. He started by experimenting with photography under Jan Jurasek; and, later attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City and the Maine Photographic Workshop. From these experiences he began to develop his relation to identity, and what it meant to be apart of a location, person, or moment.
In Pulguero/Flea Market, Vázquez is utilizing elements similar to previous series such as No vamos a Llegar pero vamos a ir- We Will Not Arrive But We Are Going, 2013 and Un Cuerpo a Cuerpo - The Body to Body, 2005; in the sense that the exhibit represents a unique opportunity to get to know or rethink the symbolic imagery of our time.
Body to Body II, part of Un Cuerpo a Cuerpo, 2005, Lambda Impression, Diptych, Photograph
In Un Cuerpo a Cuerpo, completed in 2005, Vázquez explores the metaphoric aspect of the human body. This result shows his belief that the body can be “a landscape of unknown battles”; consistently removed and replaced in a moment or environment, disturbing it’s purpose. His work Body to Body II is not meant to be strictly Puerto Rican based. By including a geographic region Vázquez is identifying a purpose of the subject. The body is rather meant to symbolize a race/geographic, and not gender or specifics, rather the body represents a grouping of individuals, shrouded in their heritage. This creates an identity for the viewer to place the form in. By doing so Vázquez is calling on notions of true identity and what the purpose of identity is, if the flags weren’t there would our subjects have an identity?
Recently Seraphin Gallery has included his works in a group exhibition entitled (Other) Stranger, a collection of photographs that illuminated reflection of the self through creating awareness of the Other--- our constructed perception of the different, the outsider, the strange, and foreign--- and association with the Stranger---the unknown and anonymous inhabitants that surround us in urban society. His works in this collection dealt mainly with the conceptual and formal qualities of the human body and the empathetic viewer relations. He is concerned mainly with questioning the way we perceive, understand, and relate with one another and our environment.
Vázquez is actively maintaining a presence in the contemporary art world through different interpretations of social order and displacement. This retrospective is the culmination of his artistic career thus far. Seraphin Gallery is proud to represent him established as both an international artist and artist whose works are in the public and permanent collections of the Artium Center, Lehigh Photography Collection, Museo de Arte de Ponce, Museo del Barrio, Museum of Art Los Angeles, The Smithsonian Institution, among others. For inquiries about Vázquez and works available please contact the Seraphin Gallery. Check here to visit his page on our website.