Rodrigo Valenzuela - Prole (detail), 2015

Rodrigo Valenzuela

Chile 1982

Installation, Photography

Rodrigo Valenzuela
Rodrigo Valenzuela
June 10, 2016
Behind the pseudonym of Lor Dethal lies Nemanja Torlak, a writer for Widewalls intrigued and moved by diversity in art and in the lives of those who create it. It is often the unexpected that come forth and surprise us, and art is a world that allows it and makes it possible. David beats the Goliath daily, and writing about it is a pleasure.

Using the personal experience and autobiographical themes, Rodrigo Valenzuela constructs narratives that indicate the tension between the individual and social communities. With gestures of detachment and displacement as the marks of the both aesthetic and subject of his work, the artist explores the way an image is inhabited, questioning the method of translation the objects and people into the spaces of artwork. Aiming to place an expressive but intimate contact between the realms of subjective and political occurrence, the artist creates the photographs and videos that are familiar and distant at the same time.

Rodrigo - Hedonic Reversal #4 (Left) - #13 (Right, 2014 press help print gallery museum video
Rodrigo Valenzuela – Hedonic Reversal #4 (Left) / #13 (Right), 2014

From Santiago to Seattle

Valenzuela was born in Santiago in 1982, where he earned his art history degree. When he moved to the United States, besides making art, he worked in a construction in order to support his passion for creative expression. After he finished his MFA at the University of Washington, he became a Core Fellow at Museum of Fine Arts in Huston. His work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including the Frye Art Museum, Seattle, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Santiago and Steven Zevitas Gallery, Boston and been held in several public and private collections. Valenzuela is a recipient of Artist Trust’s Arts Innovator Award (2014), the Texas Contemporary Award (2104) and the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts grant (2013).

He worked in a construction in order to support his passion for creative expression

Rodrigo - Future Ruins, installation view, 2015 press print gallery museum video
Rodrigo Valenzuela – Future Ruins, installation view, 2015

The Future Ruins

His large-scale installation Hedonic Reversal with three-channel video projection El Sisifo, make the wider context and move beyond his previous autobiographical projects, questioning the issues of class, race, and labor. Coming from the family of workers and being a worker himself, he strives to represent a larger statement about everyday life. The other installation, the Future Ruins, emerged as the response to the recent transformation of Seattle where the former modest apartments, cottages, and unpretentious buildings are being replaced by elite estates of the technological nouveau riches. The focus of his discussion is directed at those who construct and maintain those places, the workers whom he names the 13th Man, who often under the cover of darkness removes the trash left behind by the 12th Man.

In his later work, he moves beyond his previous autobiographical projects, questioning the issues of class, race, and labor

Rodrigo - Sin Heroes, installation view, 2016 press print gallery museum video
Rodrigo Valenzuela – Sin Heroes, installation view, 2016

Questioning the Value of the Heroes

Seeing too many monuments erected to the wrong people makes him wonder why and how we honor people in the public sphere and encouraged him to create a project as a reaction to the lack of heroic figures in contemporary culture. Criticizing the idealization of fame and fortune, the artist questions the values of the neoliberal society that neglect the sacrifice of the unknown person in everyday life. Sin Heroes is deprived of the human figure in favor of geometric design in a form that resembles the altars. Engaging the viewer in questions concerning the ways in which the formation and experience of each work are situated—how they exist in and out of place, Valenzuela makes a social context that attracts increasing national attention.

The Artist is represented by the Lisabird Contemporary, Vienna.

Rodrigo Valenzuela lives and works in Seattle, Washington

Featured image: Rodrigo Valenzuela – Prole (detail), 2015
All images courtesy of the artist

YearExhibition titleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016Rodrigo ValenzuelaUlrich Museum of Art, WichitaSolo
2016 Rodrigo ValenzuelaFogelman Gallery of Contemporary Art, University of Memphis, TNSolo
2016Sin Héroes Klowden-Mann Gallery, Los Angeles, CASolo
2016Sin Héroes David Shelton Gallery, Houston, TXSolo
2016Hedonic Reversal Steven Zevitas Gallery, Boston, MASolo
2016Hedonic Reversal envoy enterprises, New York NYSolo
2016NW Art Now @ TAM 2016 Tacoma Art Museum, TacomaGroup
20162016 Core Exhibition The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TXGroup
2016 (Not So) Still Life Wave Hill, New York, NYGroup
2016transmissions The Franklin, Chicago, ILGroup
2016Time + Space: Beginnings Bemis Center, Omaha, NEGroup
2015Rodrigo ValenzuelaThe Factory, Seattle, WASolo
2015Residuous Museo de Arte Contemporàneo, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, ChileSolo
2015Prole CUAC, Salt Lake City, UTSolo
2015 Hedonic Reversal Upfor, Portland ORSolo
2015 Future Ruins Frye Art Museum, Seattle ,WASolo
2015 Conceal Market ROY G BIV Gallery, Columbus, OHSolo
2015UNTITLED Art Fair Miami, FLSolo
2015 Texas Contemporary Art Fair Houston, TXSolo
2015A World in Flux: 2015 Biennial Exhibition New Hampshire Institute of Art, Manchester, NHGroup
2015My Kingdom for a Stage Hillyer Art Space, Washington, DCGroup
2015Made in Woodstock VII Center for Photography at Woodstock, NYGroup
2015Prole Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA Group
2015This Side of Paradise FotoFest, Houston, TXGroup
2015Tele-novela Acre TV Group
2015De coy Worksound International, Portland, ORGroup
2015Neddy Artist Awards Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle, WAGroup
2015West of the Sun Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, CAGroup
2015Country Home, CUE Foundation (curated by Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell), New York, NYGroup
2015Source Amnesia Klowden Mann Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2015The Great Debate About Art Upfor, Portland, ORGroup
2015The Great Debate About Art envoy enterprises, New York, NYGroup
2015 Fellowship: New Works Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, CAGroup
2015 Bellingham National 2015 Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WAGroup
2015 Everything Your Heart Desires Soil Gallery, Seattle, WAGroup
2015Wheaton College Photography Biennial Norton, MAGroup
2015Maria TV Diverse Works, Houston, TX Group
2014Help Wanted Archer Gallery, Vancouver, WASolo
2014Goal Keeper Bryan Ohno Gallery, Seattle, WASolo
2014Open Seas Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, CAGroup
2014VOX X: Present Tense Vox Populi, Philadelphia PAGroup
2014This Might Not Be for Now Cabinet, Brooklyn, NY Group
2014Made in America National Academy Museum, New York City, NYGroup
2014The Measure of All Things Room Gallery, University of California, Irvine, CAGroup
2014 IDxID: New Identities Washington State Convention Center, Seattle, WAGroup
20149th Annual Next Dance Cinema Velocity Dance Center, Seattle, WA Group
2013(in) habit Blindfold Gallery, Seattle WASolo
2013Strangers in a Strange Land: The Coyote Project with Anastasia Hill University of CaliforniaSolo
2013Self, in collaboration with Anthony Sonnenberg 4Culture Gallery, Seattle, WASolo
2013SIGHTLINES Gage Academy, Seattle, WAGroup
2013 Exile El Rincon Social, Houston, TXGroup
2013CURRENTS 2013: International New Media Festival El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe, NMGroup
2013En Foco’s New Works Longwood Art Gallery, Bronx, NYGroup
2013UnknownLarson Gallery, Yakima, WAGroup
2013Green Gothic Hedreen Gallery, Seattle, WAGroup
2013LENS 2013 International Perspective Gallery, Chicago, ILGroup
2013Untitled The Majestic Theater, Corvallis, OR Group
2013Optic Nerve 14 BIG Screen Plaza, NYC, NYGroup
2012Up against Joe Bar, Seattle, WASolo
2012 MFA Thesis Exhibition Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WAGroup
2012Arrest Me Punch Gallery, Seattle, WAGroup
2012Shadows Black Box Gallery, Portland, ORGroup
2012Optic Nerve 14 MOCA, Miami, FLGroup
2012New Boondocks CoCA, Seattle, WAGroup
2012Digital Connections Seattle Art Museum Gallery, Seattle, WAGroup
2012ONN-OF The Sweater Factory, Seattle, WAGroup
2011Fixing the Architecture Bryan Ohno Gallery, Seattle, WASolo
2011MittWit Vignettes, Seattle, WASolo
2011Work in Progress,, in collaboration with Sutton Beres Culler Cornish Art Gallery, Seattle, WAGroup
2005Play #2 Juan Egenau Gallery, Santiago, ChileSolo