Being an artist of “color” in the USA often overshadows my double identity as a queer artist – often to my own fault, I must confess. This is not a deliberate act, but more of combination of personality and cultural traits. To illustrate this, I need to quote my mother, she always told all of her children “I don’t want a parade here, just bring home the one you are going to marry” and so everybody did. This ideology reinforces the believe that what happens behind doors is private, but also opens the door to secrecy and the coded symbolism that is present in my work. On the other hand my work does not seem “Mexican enough” either. I am an artist using mostly memory, the body and identity between an institutionalized society. My work is composed of different and sometimes conflicting facets, which makes it especially hard for curators and the art world because the work is hard to label.
This is why sometimes I am accused of “passing” for something I’m not or pretend not to be. Apparently my work is not enough of anything and a little bit of everything, which makes people uneasy, because they do not know how to categorize it. Creating in the Queer Diaspora in the Mexican Diaspora may be removed once too many, but my work still deals with identity and personal struggles arriving to a personal Queer-Mexican-Catholic identity, both from a cultural and personal point of view – involving everything that makes me who I am as a person and as an artist. The series that best represent these qualities is entitled Capricious Tales.
For years I collected mementos, things that reminded me of people, places, or particular moments in my life. A year ago I started to collect things that I would normally throw away – orange peels, pepper ends, broken glasses, and eggshells among others things. These objects were meant to be discarded, but instead I kept them and soon they started to tell old and new stories; stories about childhood and adulthood, stories of family and solitude, stories about dream and hopes, stories about me. Many of the stories depicted in these images are based on family interactions and kitchen stories. The kitchen is such an important place at many houses; it seems to be the nucleus of the family. The kitchen is where announcements happen, politics and religion are discussed, misunderstandings, reconciliations, and even weddings and first communions happen in the kitchen. Capricious Tales is a series that explores metaphors of family secrets, personal struggles, and shared experiences – both in public and private places. I created a physical inventory of shadows hoping to better preserve my memories this way. The abstract nature of the photogram emphasizes both the capricious nature of memory as well as the secret and sometimes coded aspects of private lives. All of the images in this series talk of the duality – and sometimes conflict – between domesticity and utilitarianism, personal and communal, self and society.
You Can find more wonderful works by Gusavo at http://ogplascencia.com