Graffiti Blind, 2010
Plastic blinds, spray paint
84 x 62 x 1 1/2 inches
Tight on Canvas (Bridget), 2010
stockings, canvas, woman's shoe
36 x 24 x 13 inches
When I first saw Soto Climent's artwork at Michael Benevento several years ago (see here), I immediately thought of Senga Negudi's artwork in an exhibition ( "Now Dig This!" ) running concurrently at the Hammer Museum. See my post from the show here. At that time, I wondered how Soto Climent was invoking and working with territory that had already been well-established by Negudi, some forty some years elsewhere and before. I also wondered what it meant for a man to be doing work with materials so closely associated with a woman and her intimate body. Certainly, the signs of hosiery and Nine West heels point to a woman's world (mind you, I'm willing to consider other possibilities as well).
I suppose "Now Dig This!" was gnawing at similar questions about who knows who how and from where by its inclusion and celebration of so many contemporary artists, ones well-established by the end of 2011, but largely unknown outside of Los Angeles, specifically South Los Angeles. Perhaps "digging" has less to do with groovy talk from an era than it is an attempt to get to the bottom of something. In Soto Climent's case, I wonder what kind of bottom he is considering?
The two works here also have me wondering about David Hammons (see here) another artist celebrated in "Now Dig This!" In fact the frontispiece for the show bears striking resemblances to the one pictured here. With graffiti often thought to be about pissing contests and objects lodged in women's panty hose as body trash (shit, for example), then I suppose, according to Soto Climent, this could be anybody's game. And he would be right on this point.
As I look more closely at these relationships, I can't help but also wonder if I may be missing something. Part of this has to do with just how much of Soto Climent's work overlaps formally with Negudi's (see here for more examples); the other part is that I can't seem to find a statement from Soto Climent that speaks to appropriation (the likeliest positive explanation) nor to ignorance. If anyone can help suture these questions, do let me know.
In the meantime, also consider the work of Kim Ye. I thought of her upon seeing Soto Climent's works (posted above) and would be curious to know her thoughts. See here.
I suppose, ultimately, the works and questions posed here speak to our current global identity and our continual discovery of parallel practices. In my mind, the level of responsibility goes up as we are burdened to spend more time checking sources and considering how our dialogues actually might fit together. It might be interesting to think about how artworks such as these from three different generations and three separate locales (Negudi, an African-American from Los Angeles; Soto Climent born and living in Mexico City; and Ye, a mid-westerner from Illinois by way of Beijing) come together not only to define themselves as individuals but also as participants within an expanding perception and dialogue of world art.
One thing is certain to me for all three, the material sign may have more significance than the medium or the time(s).