Rodrigo Valenzuela (b.1982, Santiago, Chile) lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Valenzuela completed an art history degree at the University of Chile (2004), then worked in construction while making art over his first decade in the United States. He holds a BA in Philosophy from Evergreen State College and an MFA at University of Washington (2012). He is a Professor of Art at University of California Los Angeles.


Using staged scenes and digital interventions, Valenzuela's photography, video and installation work is rooted in the contradictory traditions of documentary and fiction, at the same time, these pursuits are equally centered on a semiotic, politically engaged post-capitalist critique of social constructs and civic institutions.


Rodrigo Valenzuela’s photographic assemblages are often evocative of the kind of transitional spaces in modern living associated with building construction, urban decline and civil disobedience. These built environments, already a simulacrum of reality, are further complicated by his technique of using his own photographic work as backdrops against which additional installations are seamlessly built and rephotographed. In this way a complex sense of spatial displacement is created. Taken as a whole his work makes poetic use of the liminal spaces that modern living so often places us within, locations that are always on the threshold of being built or sliding into decline. Valenzuela speaks of travelling across the US by car and paying witness to the parts of the landcape that we look away from, the discarded parts of the American Dream that line the roadside mile after mile.


Valenzuela’s many residencies include Light Work in Syracuse, NY; a Core Fellowship at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Skowhegan, ME; Bemis Center, NE and the Center for Photography at Woodstock, NY.


Valenzuela is recipient of several awards, including an Artist Trust Arts Innovator Award 2014, Texas Contemporary Award 2014, Stranger Genius Award 2013, University of California Artist Research Grant 2015. 

Installation shots


Bomb Magazine, The Value of Labor: Rodrigo Valenzuela, Forrest Muelrath

Artishock, Rodrigo Valenzuela: New Works For A Postworker's World, Paula Kupfer



ArtNow LA, Rodrigo Valenzuela: ‘Journeyman’, Jody Zellen

Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles, Rodrigo Valenzuela at Klowden Man, Matt Stromberg

Artishock, Rodrigo Valenzuela: Journeyman, (Spanish)

Musée: Vanguard of Phototgraphy Culture, Ink Goes Deep: Interview with Rodrigo Valenzuela, Mica Bahn



LA Weekly, Feature: Best of L. A. Arts, Shananys Dambrot

Artillery, Rodrigo Valenzuela at Klowden Mann, Shana Nys Dambrot



Artillery, Review: Rodrigo Valenzuela at Klowden Mann, Cooper Johnson

Glasstire, Review: Rodrigo Valenzuela at Art League Houston, Betsy Huete

Collector Daily, Review: Intervention @ Laurence Miller, Loring Knoblauch

Artforum, Review: General Song at Klowden Mann, Andy Campbell

Hyperallergic, The Mesmerizing Depth and Desolation of Desert Landscapes, Anna Furman

Falter, Amerikanische Typen und Nail Art in Pink



ArtReview, Review: General Song at Upfor, Wendy Vogel



Widewalls, Rodrigo Valenzuela Opening at Galerie Lisa Kandlhofer, Amy Lin

Phases Magazine, Hedonic Reversal: Rodrigo Valenzuela.

Los Angeles Times, Review: Shrines of disillusionment, Sharon Mizota

The Stranger, Artist Goes Looking for Heroes, Doesn't Find Any, Jen Graves

Artforum, Rodrigo Valenzuela at envoy enterprises, Emily Hall

The Boston Globe, Crumbled Vistas, Important Questions, Cait McQuaid

Artsy, Valenzuela Sheds Light on the Immigrant Experience



Artforum, Critic's Pick, Stephanie Snyder

The Seattle Times, Review: Past and future, time and decay, Michael Upchurch

Vanguard Seattle, "Future Ruins" at the Frye, Claire Reiner

The Stranger, Review: Art and Labor Converge in Future Ruins, Charles Mudede

City Arts, The 13th Man: Future Ruins at the Frye Museum, Amanda Manitach



The Portland Mercury, Review: Beauty and Brains, Jenna Lechner

City Arts, Review: When Labor Shines, Amanda Manitach

The Monarch Review, Interview with the artist.

Vanguard Seattle, In the Studio: The Goalkeeper, Claire Reiner

CPW, Video: Artist-In-Residence 2014



The Stranger, 2013 Genius Award for Art, Jen Graves



The Stranger, Inhabiting Landscapes, Charles Mudede

City Arts, A Flash, Then Nothing, Amanda Manitach