Jose Luis Rojas’ practice started simultaneously to the conformation of the artistic group Los Lichis (Gerardo Monsiváis, Manuel Mathar and the artist himself), an alliance whose aspirations were not as much artistic as collective. Since the late nineties their clearest gestures were the playfulness, mischief, in… Read More
Jose Luis Rojas’ practice started simultaneously to the conformation of the artistic group Los Lichis (Gerardo Monsiváis, Manuel Mathar and the artist himself), an alliance whose aspirations were not as much artistic as collective. Since the late nineties their clearest gestures were the playfulness, mischief, informality, teenage ease, along with the progressive vandalising of the property located in Andador 20-1 at Fovissste-Miramontes state housing. This could be read now -ten years later- as their highest ongoing piece.
The long-life sessions together, in such specific conditions as being forced to remain chained with handcuffs during five days in a hotel room, led improvisation in the music field and in the fine arts as well.
In the video and photographic series Pumpin’ Barbie (1997) realized by Los Lichis, the charismatic doll and her friends are expelled from the closet of naïveté, and they are shown as sexed, violent, and excessive subjects. Their organs and fluids are exposed as grotesque prosthesis of plasticine, in the best Paul McCarthy style. These images are a parody of melodrama, but equally of pornography.
Throughout his passage along with Los Lichis Rojas inherited the transgressive exercise of constructing scaled sceneries: a flat as the reproduction of the world, and a gang of toys as the reproduction of a society, its characters and instruments. This inheritance is literal, since the photo-series Fovissste Conflict is constituted by a number of stills that resulted from the staging and documentation of several explosions and bombings inside this connoted house.
The artist refers ironically to the media-habit of overexposing the public to turbid images, to incite paranoia in the first place, then sensationalism, and finally indifference.
For the Taliban series (2004-2006) this artist steals the most ‘bucolic’ of all the Christmas traditions in Latin culture, and recruits ceramic figurines to characterise them as the Afghan militias trained under the sponsorship of Ronald Reagan’s government, and still kicking after 9/11. The Bethlehem crèche doesn’t seem to be a stop on any map, and instead of gifts these legions flaunt rifles, bazookas, automatic machine guns AK-47 and M-60, produced all them in the US, Britain and Russia.
The exploitation of vagueness as a strategy acquires new overtones when Rojas presents a sum of detailed three-dimensional studies in miniature of projectiles collapsing, missiles taking of, tanks blowing up, and vehicles on fire. The narrative ingredient is included in pieces such as Fire in the Hole (2007), in which the volatility of the action becomes frozen in three different moments of the same attack via the genre of sculpture.
The power of signs crumbles when Rojas shows the iconographic voracity and perversion of the contemporary world, and rewards us with tiny memorials that record the dislocated epic sensibility of our time.