Rodrigo Valenzuela in Art Daily 8.30.19

Robert Lazzarini, chain-link fence (torn), 2012.

USF Contemporary Art Museum presents The Return of the Real: Robert Lazzarini and Rodrigo Valenzuela


TAMPA, FLA.- In an era increasingly dominated by fabricated fears, alternative facts and fake news, the artists Robert Lazzarini (U.S., b. 1965) and Rodrigo Valenzuela (Chile, b. 1982) rearrange, reconstruct and ultimately distort reality in order to question its most fundamental premises. Their two-person exhibition, The Return of the Real, illustrates, among other things, how the real is made up of more than just perception—its surfaces can, in fact, harbor fantastical possibilities. The Return of the Real is curated by Christian Viveros-Fauné and organized by USF Contemporary Art Museum.

Robert Lazzarini is known for confusing visual and haptic space, thereby complicating the space of pictures and the space of things. Based on appropriated subjects, his sculptures have the effect of interrupting one’s standard processes of visual recognition. His work continues the discourse of phenomenology in art, while touching on themes ranging from memory to optics to America’s mythology of violence. His work is featured in collections that include the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Newark Museum, and the Walker Art Center. He received a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 1990 and lives and works in New York City.

Rodrigo Valenzuela constructs narratives, scenes, and stories that point to the tensions found between the individual and communities. He uses tableaux to explore how images are inhabited and the way spaces, people, and things are translated into images. General Song, his series of photographs titled after Pablo Neruda’s epic poem of Latin America, features ghostly barricades pictured in front of large-scale photographs of the same objects taken from different angles. The effect is of visual doubling, drawing the viewer into questioning the pictures’ artistic and political implications. Valenzuela is an assistant professor at the UCLA School of the Arts. He has had recent solo exhibitions at the Frye Art Museum, the Ulrich Museum of Art, the Portland Art Museum, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, and the Orange County Museum of Art.

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