Editor: Matthew Schum, Ph.D
Publisher: Mousse Publishing
Text: Matthew Schum, Carmen Winant, Christian Viveros-Fauné, Sharon Mirzota
Please contact the gallery regarding price and availability.
Using staged scenes and digital interventions, Valenzuela's photography, video and installation work is rooted in the contradictory traditions of documentary and fiction, often involving narratives around immigration and the working class.
In all his work Valenzuela positions contemporary art as uprooting superficial concerns and the phony politics that speak in protest while dissembling activism. It is not artistic punditry. It is not appropration art. There remains a melancholy here - the kind we might find in Hubert Robert, in Francisco Goya, in Hannah Höch, all the previous masters of ruin.
"I am interested in arrested decay," he says of his art. He is in good company, Picturing ruins is as old as photography. Its incarnations cross the political spectrum. Much of the work of Valezuela calls attention to a primal affinity photography has with destruction. This facet of picturing ruin in the history of photography is drawn out below in order to contextualize Valenzuela's artistic concerns.