Samuel Salcedo – Half-Naked | BAZIS
The solo show Half-Naked by Samuel Salcedo, on view through November 30th, 2016 at BAZIS contemporary art space in Cluj-Napoca (Paintbrush Factory, 1st floor, 59-61 Henri Barbusse street), reveals a hidden reality which despite its coexistence with what society defines as normality is denied, blamed, censored and restricted, being considered shameful and guilty, absurd or harmful. The artist explores and exposes the intimate life with irony yet without judgement, capturing in sculpture the moments of solitude and vulnerability, of desire and pleasure we fail to accept as they may endanger the way we want to be perceived by the other, our assertion of superiority as species and the carefully constructed social persona. Thus, in preserving and defending our pristine image, we hypocritically erase half of reality due to fear of ridicule and exclusion.
Partly undressed, two male figures confront each other in the gallery space, initiating a silent dialogue the viewer is invited to witness. One is wearing the mask of a rabbit and black socks, a surely humorous but unsettling representation considering the gestures of the character which seems to be comfortable and confident since its identity is protected by the mask. The other sculpture reminds of the importance of facial expression in the work of Samuel Salcedo. The gaze may indicate that the presence of the masked man is unexpected – the trespassing of the private space leads to confusing situations, while the position of the hands may imply the expectation of showing itself, quitting games and getting serious. Although a certain distance separates the two, the idea of being seen is both provocative and disturbing. This context generates curiosity, surprise and sometimes anxiety. Regarding the elements meant to disguise, it is interesting that the rabbit metaphor connects the characters, and is a ludic suggestion of the sexual needs that are not only of animal origin, but also specific to human nature.
The artist often explains that his art simply depicts ourselves. The big picture is reflected in a sincere and thought-provoking manner, in a non-patronizing approach of showing the banality of everyday life beyond insecurities, worries and social rules, and not intending to label people and behaviors through the narrow filter of right and wrong, acceptable or inadmissible.
Photos and video courtesy of BAZIS contemporary art space.