Don’t be fooled by the retouched photos: everything is much dirtier that it seems, and may be for the best. The large video ‘Ultimate non contortion of human figure’ (2015) is an uncanny animation of a skin surface spinning endlessly on itself, flooding the show with a dim artificial light that makes the materials and patterns discernible with difficulty. The ‘backroom’ reference of course comes to mind, perverted by two large paintings representing sections of a ‘Casetas para pickup (Chauvet cave) #1 and 3#’ (2015), a metallic rig that Mexican truck owners attach to their vehicle in order to install basic commercial infrastructure like a fruit-stand or a taco business, but also simply sleep or shelter their load from the outside world.
Weird feelings of intimacy thus traverse the show, through the cloth hung carelessly on the wall (‘Untitled (Cruising)’, 2015) and a small lamp of sensual 90s Italian design. The softness of the reflecting tape forms the letters of the title of the show, Cruising Objects of Agency, on a hung flag presiding over the whole installation. The anecdotal narrative inscribed on one side of a closed vitrine containing several rolls of tape –like ready to use skin tones for a futuristic surgery to come –explains its presence in the display case of another object. It’s a vintage tin of scenic makeup allegedly identical to the one described in the story (‘La Rosa de Guadalupe Theatrical Cold Cream’, 2015) of a text invoking the baroque character of Mabel Normand, a 20s Los Angeles star involved in a troubled murder case. It casts an antagonistic spell on the otherwise austere set of works, diluting purpose and interpretation in other more abstract feelings that are accentuated by resin and tape, or stick-like sculptures scattered subtly on the walls of the show “as commas punctuating some kind of reading”, according to the artist.
Nelson is also known for his performances, mixing readings of his own texts and other textual material with minimal scenographies, actions and gestures. It seems overall expected that a performer, if he chooses to investigate sculpture, do it through the idea of the absence of the body. Thus he chooses at this very moment to withdraw, to exist only through traces, entrusting objects as events, capable of reconstituting, precisely, the complexity of a missing, thus present agency. Claiming the explicit use of gay visual culture as a tool capable to reconstitute the rudeness of the patriarchal world we are living in, the show takes a fascinating turn within its Mexican and Latin-American context. It’s one where classist, racist and sexist post-colonial violence fuels the weird games of apparitions and disappearances, be it of bodies, political corruption or a sense of (aest)ethics. **
Exhibition photos, top right.