Tropical Fetish- Los Angeles 2020

Gallery view of three prints of the series Still Life Of a Tropical Fetish. 

Archival Pigment Print 

Each 45X35

Debajo De Ésta Piel

From the series Still Life Of A Tropical Fetish.

Archival Pigment Print 

45X35

Pencil de placeres compartidos (2020) 

35 Tropical fruits, soy wax and cotton rope. 

Installation, dimensions variable.

Let Me Be Your Tropical Fetich 

Archival Pigment Print, Resine.

36.7X27.5

#12 

From the series Still Life Of A Tropical Fetish.

Archival Pigment Print 

45X35

Based on Socrates comparison of the human soul to a block of wax, Tropical Fetish is a reinterpretation of this Socratic idea, applied to the practice of stereotyping the male LatinX/Latin American identity. The body of work consists of photographic prints of tropical fruits presented in a still life style, a photo-staged performance piece that farther makes the connection to the body of the LatinX/Latin American artist, and an  hanging art installation using waxed fruits preserved in resin. 

 

Using the fruits a metaphor of the artist's body, the fruits are tied using knots found in BDSM practices, covered in wax, and then photographed in a deadpan style. 

A restages The Death of Chatterton, by the English Pre-Raphaelite painter Henry Wallis. Added to this restaging are elements that represent the tropicalization of the artist’s identity; fruits that can trace their origin to tropical regions of the Americas.

In Let Me Be Your Tropical Fetish, a central image of this body of work, I restage The Death of Chatterton, by the English Pre-Raphaelite painter Henry Wallis. Added to this restaging are elements that represent the tropicalization of the Latino’s identity; fruits that can trace their origin to tropical regions of the Americas. I take the submissive position in a wax-play scenario as a way to problematize the cultural fantasy expected from the Latino male body.

 

This photo-performance is a strategy that physically enacts the effects of the fetishization of the LatinX/Latin American identity, to use the cultural signifiers associated with the cultural fetishization (language, heteronormativity, homophobia, machismo, aggressiveness, jealousy) as medium to achieve the queering of the observer/spectator.

By having wax poured on myself, I use the element of wax as a metaphoric symbol of the expectations held by the observer/spectator in the process of racial/cultural fetishization of Latin American/LatinX males; while simultaneously exploring the visual parallels with Dom/sub relationships in wax play. This dynamic of appropriation or queering of the oppressive discourse is in direct dialogue with José Esteban Muñoz’s strategies of disidentification, which in this case can be use by the subject being fetishized to shape his oppressor.