Opening reception: Saturday 23 July, 5pm-8pm
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles presents PACIFICO SILANO: Men Play Games, an exhibition of new and recent photographic works.
Pacifico Silano is known for sourcing archival images of gay pornography, mostly from the 1970s and 1980s, to interrogate white masculinity and American clichés through the lens of queer desire. He creates his work by photographing, rather than scanning, the archival photographs he has collected. Silano often layers them physically on top of each other, sometimes repeating the process with several magazines, and then takes a picture of the final layout. He makes further edits to those images by cropping or scaling them to show the pixelated grain, paper fibers, rough edges, or a detail of the magazine spine.
The bodybuilder, policeman, soldier, sailor, and other overtly male archetypes featured in his work depict playfully performed seduction when considered in their original form as magazine pages, yet the longer one views Silano’s constructions the more complicated and fraught these images become. Silano lures the viewer’s gaze by using what is in the frame, but also importantly, what lies beyond the frame – that which goes unnoticed but is also implied. His juxtaposition of images reveals the power and violence latent in the original source material.
The works stand on a knife’s edge, as many of the appropriated images involve scenarios that appear on the cusp of danger and hint at violence bubbling to the surface. He uses presentation – images on delicate ovals like locket keepsakes, or printed on draped silk – enlarged scale, and fragmentation of the male body as part of a strategy to undermine hypermasculine archetypes. More than mere appropriation, Silano works to recontextualize these original images and to explore the attraction of queer masculinity, its dangers, and its limits.
Pacifico Silano (b. Brooklyn, 1986) is a lens-based artist whose work is an exploration of print culture, the circulation of imagery and LGBTQ identity. He received an MFA in Photo, Video and Related Media at the School of Visual Arts in New York, and a BFA in Photography from the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, Lancaster, PA. His work has been included in solo and group shows at Bronx Museum for the Arts, NY; Houston Center for Photography, Houston, TX; International Center of Photography (ICP), New York, NY; The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA; Tacoma Art Museum, WA; and Baxter St. at the Camera Club of New York (CCNY), NY. Reviews of his work have appeared in The New Yorker, Artforum and The Washington Post. Silano has been awarded the Aaron Siskind Foundation Fellowship, and the NYFA Fellowship in Photography. He was a Finalist for the Aperture Foundation Portfolio Prize and shortlisted for the Paris Photo/Aperture First Book Prize. His work is in the Permanent Collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Silano lives and works in New York.
Pacifico Silano, Eyes Without a Face, 2022. UV laminated archival pigment print mounted on Museum Box 30 x 75 in. Edition of 3 + AP