Gonzalo Fuenmayor: Tropicalypse
The exhibition features new work by Miami-based artist Gonzalo Fuenmayor. Born in Colombia, resident of the United States for over 20 years, Fuenmayor’s precise charcoal drawings continually explore themes of cultural hybridity, exoticism and identity politics.
In “Tropicalypse” – a playful -yet macabre- word combination of “Tropical” and “Apocalypse”- Fuenmayor presents a challenging new body of work. His recurrent opulent and decadent charcoal drawings have grown dramatically in scale and complexity with two monumental multi-panel charcoal drawings such as “Tropicalypse” and “The Seeds of Decadence”. These massive works portray two seemingly disparatescenarios: While the drawing “Tropicalypse” portrays an imaginary apocalyptic landscape of burning palmtrees; a gesture alluding to the palmtree as an archetype of “tropical culture” in America, “The Seeds of Decadence” depicts a lavish and opulent Victorian room with inverted values.
Several oval shaped charcoal drawings complement these two massive works. Among these, “The Taste of Omnipotence” which portrays a Toucan fossil petrified in a charcoal background, foreshadowing the demise of the bird as an exotic signifier. Also, “Semantic Innocence”, a direct reference to Josephine Baker, which depicts the cropped body of the actress wearing a skirt made with bananas. Fuenmayor is interested intranslating pop culture imagery together with his own, and is constantly displacing their meaning through the act of drawing. He is constantlyquestioning his role as a performer and spectator in the never ending dynamics of belonging. One last example is the drawing “How would you like me to exoticize myself for you? Where the discourteous question rests in the surface of the drawing, juxtaposed with a decorative Dutch still life scene in the background.
Accompanying the drawings, Frenesí, a video installation will be also shown. The three-minute long video depicts a ballroom dancer – cropped to the knees- attempting to gracefully dance to Charleston and tap dance rhythms using pineapples as shoes. The result is an eerie and nostalgic commentary to transculturation dynamics.