Peñafiel creates experiences about those on the underside of the world’s major conflicts: the migrant, the laborer, the surveilled. Clashing ideologies and the repetitive cycles of history produce the human catastrophes that his multimedia installations speak to. He draws the eye to odd angles that our world often intersects at — using sculpture, animation, video, and space to create disturbing reflections of the realities we participate in and witness every day. These unnerving views break us out of the desensitized lull that ongoing crisis creates. Interweaving projection with physical space mirrors the way concepts interact with the real world. Video projection introduces movement, rhythm, and montage to stationary, three dimensional objects. At the same time, these objects provide weight and fixed form. This presentation invites the viewer to merge the tactile with the ephemeral, each informing and complicating the other in dialogue. Through visual references to German expressionism and the surveillance state, Peñafiel keeps the work inside a long term discussion about the turning gears of modernity and the alienation it continues to produce. This visual approach brims with an anxiety illustrated in crooked lines, all informed by the dismal cruelties of bureaucracy, the policing of human movement, and empty rituals of labor. The hidden peril of these destructive cycles lends urgency to exploring the history of how we got here, how we perceive what’s going on, and the hard truths of those who must face the darkest parts of the present. That urgency and import is always matched by emotional impact. For Peñafiel, the outcome of his work must bring a visceral change in the viewer, equal parts intriguing and unsettling. These confrontations with injustice through surreal imagery are conjured to produce what we need in the world today: empathy for the oppressed.Want to contact? email me firstname.lastname@example.org
These dark spaces in Camposcuro, shown in a stream of television sets not unlike a closed-circuit TV system, are populated by a single traveler. The only story that emerges through the screens is of a person moving through space, occasionally stopping for a moment before pursuing the horizon. In some screens they never move and are wholly absent from the hillsides of others. The world sits in a dreamlike abandonment, with elements, such as a bike, recurring just enough to encourage the inference of occluded events.
Following this single character through each scene, there is a sense of movement, but the faceless repetition interspersed with empty spaces infers a general tale of persistent human travel, a continuous cycle that never begins or ends.
The presentation implies a threat to this cycle: shown across many screens, evoking surveillance, and shot in low contrast black-and-white, evoking nightfall. It encourages participation in the watching of the traveler, through the panopticon-like presentation of their world, but without the necessary information, it is impossible to stitch together sure meaning. It is as if the traveler moves simply because they must. And yet now, the reaction to the movement of humans becomes a mystery to be followed, understood, solved.
The striped clothing and side bag echoes previous work, linking this naturalistic piece with more expressionist ones. That connection allows in consideration of migration and our contemporary response to border crossing — a connection that makes the “dark fields” of Camposcuro all the darker still.
Video Documentation : https://vimeo.com/344861295