. Conversations at the Edge (CATE)

On Carlos Motta…

Posted by | George William Price | Posted on | October 1, 2014

This week SAIC graduate student Charles Rice writes about how he has drawn inspiration from Carlos Motta’s work in order to develop a practice informed by abandonment, autobiography and memory.

Still from Nefandus (Carlos Motta, 2013). Courtesy of the artist.

Still from Nefandus (Carlos Motta, 2013). Courtesy of the artist.

My own artistic practice is centered on my own (queer) body and how I may establish a narrative that acknowledges my own lived histories. I am interested in how one can relate the epistemological significance of pre-Hispanic culture to that of contemporary Queer culture—a culture that, although it may not trace its heritage to any specific location, is nonetheless operating as a diaspora within a postcolonial framework. How can one create a personal and collective identity through the transgression of an imposed “colonial” language?

Carlos Motta’s practice directly engages with South America’s visual and vernacular landscape in order to establish counter narratives that recognize those that are suppressed. Motta employs the use of quotation and repetition as a method of reinforcing the suppressed individual’s absoluteness, allowing community members to reinforce their own (collective) self-esteem and worth. This use of self-quotation and self-reflexiveness can be seen in other politically oppositional and combative movements, including the gay rights movement and feminist movement, as embodied by the slogan “The personal is political.”

It is this political gesture found within Motta’s body of work that has made me so excited to see The Nefandus Trilogy at CATE tomorrow. Motta’s concepts of how memories become embedded into a cultural and physical landscape fascinate me. His work allows for these hidden memories to come forward as an act of self-knowing emergence. I believe that this act is an important political statement.

Charles Rice is a second year MFA candidate at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago working in the Performance Department. Charles was born and raised in the northern suburbs of Chicago. He graduated from Arizona State University in 2011 with a BFA and was awarded JurorsFirst Choice Award in undergraduate juried exhibition for video To My Mom and Dad. Charles has participated in exhibitions at several spaces across Arizona and Illinois, including: Sullivan Gallery, Mana Contemporary, Harry Wood Gallery, and Gallery 100.