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  • Spaces of Solidarity: The Last Seduction/La Seducción Fatal
  • Oli Rodriguez (bio)

For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.

—Audre Lorde

This article is an artistic documentation of The Last Seduction/La Seducción Fatal (2015–current). This project incorporates art and advocacy through modes of resistance by dismantling heteronormativity, racism, classism, colonialism, the idea of “an art master,” and (art) institutions who uphold this notion. This project initiates an intersectional dialogue by examining race, gender, class, sexuality, and the other. It is interdisciplinary, and includes performance, photography, new media, video, and the Internet.

The Last Seduction/La Seducción Fatal is a melding of performance, photography, and painting, re-envisioning a queer, people of color history digitally merged into the painting canon of the nineteenth century. The name of this project is taken from a painting exhibition in Buenos Aires from 2015 at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (MNBA—National Museum of Fine Arts). The subject matter is an in-depth visual portrayal of myths, fables, seduction, and betrayal, all within a plethora of female nudes. I appropriate these nineteenth-century paintings to use as the background and reinsert my queered, mundane, and fetishistic contemporary photographic portraits as the subject(s). [End Page 108]

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The Last Seduction/La Seducción Fatal: The Surprised Girl/La Niña Sorprendida, 2016

The curation of the MNBA exhibition emulates colonialist histories and upholds whiteness and heterosexism within nineteenth-century painting. This painting exhibition emphasized the European paintings as done by masters and the South American painters as “copycats” and thieves. I am rephotographing portraits based on Argentine and Uruguayan painters and their European contemporaries to critique this art historical gaze. I am reinserting people of color as well as queer- and trans-identified peoples. My reinsertion highlights the absence of people of color and the “whitification” of the subjects. Thus, this appropriation is [End Page 109] an active inclusion of marginalized populations for the photographic contemporary moment, in contrast to the nineteenth-century art canon that has historically erased their representations dictated by histories of erasure through colonialism.

Colonialism has not just determined the absence of subjects in the art historical canon. It has literally changed the ways in which we see the world, map territories, and hierarchize nations and the people who live there. The Last Seduction/La Seducción Fatal: Pangea of Solidarity appropriates the globe itself and reimagines it as a mass that is not an actual space but a representative sample of the affected, the renamed and the othered (in particular, now Spanish-speaking countries). In this work, I am actualizing the space, not activating a space dictated by conquistadors. I am not renaming countries or instating borders. Nor am I taking away the rich traditions and cultures of indigenous populations with an insistence on westernization and implementing a language and a religion. These are masses of lands signifying colonization and their shapes, their (visually absent) borders cut by pillage, disease and erasure.

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The Last Seduction/La Seducción Fatal: Pangea of Solidarity, 2017

A Pangea of Solidarity of Collective Loss and Mourning

This is a new media piece to represent the past colonized Spanish speaking countries, yet within a void, on the Internet, and as a never-ending source of [End Page 110] information. The Pangea exists for viewing and seeing a conceptual space of colonization. A space of mourning and signifying the losses of the indigenous populations that once occupied these spaces. These land masses are representative of the colonized masses by the conquistadors, but are intentionally unnamed. I am not including the countries’ names because they existed as places before being brutally named and divided by borders.

The Last Seduction/La Seducción Fatal is an intersectional dialogue that enacts decolonization through the new media piece and the insertion of queer subjects into the art historical canon. Both the photographs and the new media map engage in a dialogue of (mis)representation and marginalized peoples that have been erased through colonialism and art institutions. The photographs are critiquing a painting exhibition in Buenos Aires...


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pp. 108-111
Launched on MUSE
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