RODRIGO LOBOS HUBER '13

What have been the biggest surprises in the differences in how your work is perceived in the United States versus in Chile? Do you have to tailor work for each audience?

I don’t tailor my work for each audience because I consider them to be part of the same network. The viewers in both places are working simultaneously, one beside the other. It is the context, which tailors my work here and there since there exist different conditions and different local histories that create multiple machines of signification. I try to make my work permeable and opera[able] within the context and contingency of what is surrounding it. I try to avoid seeing my pieces under the product logic.

One clear example of how the works get imbued with context is the reading of the cartoon character in the piece Michigan Frog. Here I have had conversations about the guy in the piece in relation to what kind of identity stereotype he could be related to and what type of industry those cartoons recall, ones based on the production line and very specific divisions of labor. The same guy in Chile is equated with the stereotype of the common individual. Since the cartoon shares features with how the stereotype of the common individual has been depicted, it takes the position of that representation. And when it is revealed through additional texts, such as the exhibition catalogue, that he comes from the Warner Brothers’ cartoon Another Froggy Evening, it creates a kind of bewilderment because the male depicted is equated with a typical representation of the common Chilean man, but the character would be the caricature of a male from the U.S.

What comes to mind when you think about your time at Hunter College now?

Friends and my studio. The atmosphere for working and the space I had there were really privileges. There was a lot of freedom for experimenting with a lot of things and also some very good moments to exchange ideas with friends, trying to figure out the things we were doing.

 

Do you find that your work or practice develops or changes when you travel back and forth to Chile?

I think that traveling back and forth gives me the opportunity to look at art with opposite perspectives. In Chile art still has a strong relation with a straightforward political intention, something that has its root in the art that was made during the [Pinochet] dictatorship [and which] after was a way for putting . . . subject matters that still weren’t [re]solved in the social sphere. Living here allows me to have close contact with different discourses, which model the way in which art circulates and is presented. There are so many people that are interested in and relate to art in a very profound way here that the language itself gets really specific, and it is much easier to work with subtleties. This sometime creates a lack of urgency that in Chile is easier to track, but, at the same time, there are more possibilities here that are related to strategies, trying to find places to operate which are not yet appropriated or completely stabilized. This specialized language sometime creates a lack of urgency, whereas in Chile this urgency is easier to track. At the same time there are more possibilities here that are related to strategies trying to find forms to operate that are not yet appropriated or completely stabilized.

Image Credits:

Rodrigo Lobos Huber, 2014

Monument for SMS Dresden Ship Wreckage at Juan Fernandez Island, Chile

Drawing from a Still of “Another Froggy Evening” Cartoon (Warner Brothers, 1995), 2014 

Nazca Lines Map Painted on a Wall (photoshopped from http://unmundoporrecorrer.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/image60.jpg)

NASA / GSFC / MITI / ERSDAC / JAROS and U.S. / Japan ASTER Science Team

Ames Project, Rover test in Atacama desert.

Topaze Magazine, August 1968, no. 1867. Drawing by Patty