SANDRA VALENZUELA (México, D.F. 1980-)

Monsters or Who’s Finger?


February 14th - April 4th, 2009


… “Anyone attuned to the art world —whether in Mexico City, Berlin, London, Beijing, Bombay, or New York— will have no doubt as to what the “Monsters” by Sandra Valenzuela represent.  They have been seen before in different disguises – at gallery openings, at museum receptions, and at exclusively designed dinner parties.  They are photographs to be sure, but they are also something more.  They constitute an illusion created as a multi-media action that clings somewhere between painting and sculpture. These defiant little monsters occupy a pre- arranged scenario.  They were born as crocheted finger-puppets made by illegal aliens near the Mexican border or living on the streets of Mexico City.  These little monsters possess a certain ornery appearance, a clear defiance of the circumstances surrounding them, including the Lego miniatures that appear on the walls of their tiny room.  The stage on which they appear is not real.  It is an illusion. A feeling of disquietude surrounds the little monsters…

… Sandra Valenzuela is interested in theatre, in the spectacle and how it works upon us – what is seen and what is unseen, what is disguised or hidden from our immediate perceptions.  Who is a spectator, and what constitutes the spectacle?  She builds a narrative not on sequence but on the juxtaposition of characters and angles of vision, using the lens of the camera.  The result is uncanny, but simultaneously obvious.  It is the clear vision of an artist who thinks in relation to the shutter, who opens the door to a concept as she presides over her materials, and ultimately to the narrative she hopes to communicate – not simply a story-board, but as an ironic adventure, a level of thought beneath the obvious display of the self and the fabricated other. “

Robert C. Morgan, Ph. D. (Pratt Institute de Brooklyn, NYC), Sandra Valenzuela’s Photographs: Portentous “Monsters” and Relative Truths