Klowden Mann is proud to present our first solo show with Rodrigo Valenzuela, Sin Héroes. The exhibition features photographs, large-scale sculptural installation, and video work, and will be on view from May 14 through June 11th, 2016, with an opening reception for the artist Saturday May 14th from 6-8pm.
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. As in previous series, the photographs of staged scenes in Sin Héroes are taken from a fixed vantage point within Valenzuela’s studio, using sculptural sets he has built and placed in front of large-scale negatives. In Sin Héroes, each image is taken in a single shot from a film camera, scanned into digital form, and then printed as a negative of the original image.
Valenzuela presents this body of work as confronting “the lack of heroic figures in contemporary culture, the idealization of fame and fortune by neoliberal society, and the tendency to memorialize big disasters, war and the famous, while leaving very little room to honor the casualties of these disasters and the sacrifice of the unknown person in our everyday life.” Valenzuela’s transformation of one large gallery wall into what feels like historically referenced architecture becomes an elevating act alongside the photographs; the performance of material into memory.
For the exhibition’s video piece, Maria TV (2014; funded by 4Culture and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture), Valenzuela brought Spanish-speaking female immigrants together with an acting coach for a day of filmed theater, reconstructing monologues from Telemundo soap operas interwoven with personal histories. The video emphasizes how rarely working-class women are featured, or featured realistically, in the media.
Rodrigo Valenzuela (b. 1982, Santiago, Chile) completed an art history degree at the University of Chile (2004), then worked in construction while making art over his first decade in the United States, completing an MFA at University of Washington in 2012. Valenzuela’s residencies include a Core Fellowship at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Texas), Skowhegan (Maine), Bemis Center (Nebraska), and the Center for Photography at Woodstock (New York). Valenzuela is recipient of several awards, including an Artist Trust Arts Innovator Award (2014). Recent solo exhibitions include David Shelton Gallery, Houston (2016), the Frye Art Museum, Seattle (2015), Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Santiago, Chile (2015), envoy enterprises, New York (2015) and Upfor Gallery (2015), Portland, OR (2015). His work is in the collections of the Frye Art Museum, Seattle; Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, New Paltz; the de Bont collection and Dimensional Fund Advisors. Valenzuela is selected for the 2016-17 Open Sessions at The Drawing Center, New York. He is represented by Upfor Gallery (Portland), and Klowden Mann (Los Angeles).