Thursday, January 20, 2011

5 Questions (for Contemporary Practice) with Rigo 23 (@ Art21)

I am pleased to announce that my 5 Questions column with the Bay Area-based artist, Rigo 23, is currently online at Art21 blog.

Two other current projects, which Rigo 23 touches upon below, involve what I see as two fundamental intentions of his work. First, the ability to make art out of conditions that respect local values and traditions, as well as community structures which transcend the “individual.” Second, that the art may both historicize and create conditions of possibility by which social justice can come into being.

The first intention is embodied fully by a project Rigo 23 has been making in Madeira Island, Portugal, where he is originally from, which involves the making of a statue to commemorate a dispute between the local community and the Catholic Church of Portugal (This the People Will Never Forget). In this project, the artist erects a statue of the Virgin as seen from the back of a pick-up truck, commemorating the fact that locals were slighted by the Church authority by not being able to host the statue, and were treated instead to a passing glance of the statue’s backside upon the truck’s flatbed. Rigo 23 also foregrounds the community’s sense of injustice by employing local embroiderers to embroider all the signatures from a petition to the Church upon strips of raw linen —an act which, as the artist tells us below, also reflects the conditions under which the embroiders labor.

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