Exhibition with Sandra Salazar at la_cápsula in Zürich on 17 – 24 September 2020
This too shall pass (2016-2019) is a subjective portrait of hegemonic masculinity and the self-critical body. It is the body of the norm that serves, with explicit irony, as a resource to discover our ritualistic –egotistical– practice in the intimacy of our homes as a process of aesthetic learning. In the mise-en-scène, the photographic camera interrogates the fiction of reality, and thereby thematizes Peruvian art and its habitual representation of difference based on an always similar norm.
The photographs point out the possibilities of artistic practice and an unregulated pharmaceutical market as instruments of power and visibility in an endogamic society indifferent to the social needs of the dissident body. The protagonists of the images, consumers of synthetic testosterone, claim a different epistemology of the body in molecular transition, resisting intellectual, social, racial, and economic discrimination. As of now, none of the bodies in the photographs can legally register with their new subjectivity and they are still not acknowledged by the family-state built on the male-female binary. Thus, while the characters and attitudes change between and within the series of This too shall pass, every one of them starts out as a replica of the masculine/artistic canon closely embedded in the sentimental mainstream notion of fighting for the recognition of their gender—a wish that has been imposed by the very same exclusive, hierarchical heteronormativity suppressing them in the first place.
This too shall pass was first exhibited in Peru in march 2020 and travels to Zurich amended with a group of drawings that analyze the ideal body of the norm, the future global commodity. By leaving the original exhibition context of a traditional and conservative museum in the center of Lima behind, this show carries with it its recent past and unfolds in a dynamic present which will gradually move on and disappear. For this reason, the exhibition includes a personal Latin American glossary which the visitors are invited to collectively discuss and rework, thus providing the ideas and words to confront global masculinity.
Sandra Salazar was born in 1989 in Huancayo and currently lives in Lima, Peru. From 2016-2020, they studied Fine Arts at the Escuela Nacional Superior Autónoma de Bellas Artes del Perú. In 2018, they were selected by Proyecto AMIL to take part in its residency in Tschlin, Grisons, and to exhibit the work afterwards in its main location in Lima. In 2020, she exhibited the photographic project group This too shall pass at the Centro Cultural San Marcos in Lima. We are happy to invite Sandra’s work back to Switzerland and to continue the development of the display of the series in a different cultural and technical context.
Synthetic Independence: Corporeality, Dissidence, and Representation of Masculinity in Sandra Salazar’s photographic series This too shall pass.
“ (…) Throughout the five series, Mantaro follows no homogenous aesthetic. There is no „Mantaro style,“ a recognizable brand, a brand that appropriates the subject for its own artistic or political purposes. There is no search for beauty, for shock, or for absolute knowledge. More than anything, the technical precariousness and spontaneity of the scenes reflect each particular situation with its individual, ephemeral light of day or night. Representation is multiplied and distributed thanks to new technologies of producing and sharing knowledge, technologies which have profoundly changed the accessibility of this knowledge in recent decades. Today it is possible for us to easily investigate what the steps of gender transition are, how it looks, and how those who communicate their experiences in social networks have felt. The culture of Internet blogs and forums thrives on sharing personal stories, and notably, representing oneself. The environment of this is often the home itself, in poor light, with an intimate display of fan posters and paraphernalia, as in the present series. Within these settings, either in the studio or in the living room, the codes of the artistic world, of family life, of the stereotypes of the masculine, and sexo-dissident reality, are mixed. They continue to be semi-performing series with pronounced and deliberate gestures, but they emanate a realism capable of bringing together the unexpressed (our heteronormative, uncontested reality) with the expressed (the new reality of dissidence and diversity). This mixture specifically tries to de-exoticize transsexuality, to dismantle that segregated space that conservatism and even groups within the queer community have built.“
Excerpt from the essay by the curator of the exhibition. Read the full text here (PDF, English).
From the series „Caleb“