Raul de Nieves
August 25th - September 20th, 2017
DIO HORIA turned Thirty3, with its new solo exhibition of Mexican-American artist, Raúl de Nieves. Thirty3 was the actual age of the artist. His very own milestone marking various thoughts, desires and memories of what has taken place and what is yet to come. Rethinking the personal, de Nieves underscored the connections with the social/political. His age was used as a starting point to reflect on the pillars of subjectivity, thinking them over and over, dismantling them, highlighting the importance of working on and against them. His works stood as reifications of a personal dream world but also as possibilities of a world not-yet-here; Mythical yet grounded to traditions. Here, traditions - as well as icons - were appropriated and playfully twisted mapping a horizon of potentiality. De Nieves created masks that are not simply objects but animate beings, different selves with lives of their own, ready to be worn, to be adored, to scare and seduce. These works are spiritual, corporeal and material at the same time. Putting on a mask, created a politically generative ground in which the individual took on an identity but also revealed its fragile construction. The dichotomy of subject/object and the idea of the concrete/unitary subject were thus critically undermined. There was also a performative aspect in his practice where the artist sought to examine methods by which identity constructs could be dislodged. In those performances, elements of chance gave a way to new unknown and vital energies. With a rhythm of labor, beauty and care, de Nieves’s work embraced creativity, joy and hope while questioning the dominant uses of the notions of failure and fear. It dismissed the conventional understandings of success entailing a willingness to fail and to creatively lose one’s way, hence finding unexpected forms of resistance. His work stands as a survival guide, an instrument for pleasure and social transformation. In addition, de Nieves’s investment on hope is a response to the problematic pragmatic agenda of the present time. It is an affective reanimation needed to displace our restrictive political pessimism, and a drive toward a future exploring ultimately new worlds, dreams and pleasures.