Uruguay has produced a great variety of artists over the years, including photographers that differ greatly in their themes and methods. Here is a list of the eight most important contemporary photographers you need to know about.
Sebastián Alonso Bessonart
Sebastián Alonso is an artist from Montevideo, who has worked in different mediums including drawing, video, text, installations and photography since the 1990s. Some of his photographic works include explorations in architecture and urban planning of the city of Montevideo. The artist documents the outskirts of the city, portraying the diverse relationships between nature, housing and shops on main highways and dirt roads.
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The work of Alejandro Cruz, from Montevideo, reveals and puts into question some Eurocentric imagey and ideals as a testament to white hegemony. The artist seeks to address the Afro-descendant universe and its numerous aspects through mediums such as film, installation and photography. He works predominantly with the themes of physicality, domination and appropriation.
Pau Delgado Iglesias
This artist from Montevideo uses performance, video and photography as her main mediums. Much of her work has focused on the cultural constructions of sexual, national and gender identities. She analyzes the visual representations of women, and the study of masculinity and men’s relationships with their bodies. She also explores the political and cultural dimensions of sexual practices and commercial sex, and how such themes are experienced by people born blind.
Lacasa reinvents classic Uruguayan paintings from the 1800s through photography, to reveal differing perceptions and hidden stories behind the pictures. She focuses on restaging war paintings, and approaching a discourse about the role of women in both sides of the wars. Her ideas center around the notion that the anonymous women in war paintings suffer the war as women and not as members of nationalistic or ideological frames.
In his photographs, Rubio consciously plays with the contrast between representation and the represented subject. His style derives from the use of a bellows camera, creating exceptional density and clarity, while his subjects are often free and unclassifiable. In his series of architectural portraits, he creates a sort of parallel universe with real Uruguayan buildings that seem like they are from a different place.
This artist also works across different mediums, such as photography, installation and drawing, blending them to form his artworks. He exposes his methodologies, moving between different formal discourses while also remaining ambiguous. He photographs landscapes to appear like a catalog displaying information on every part of the landscape and objects in it.
Velazco’s photographs play with the ephemeral, capturing reality in a way that seems surprising. Flowing between matter and fantasy, his images are fraught with mystery and meaning. His narrative is the result of a long investigation on the Rio de la Plata River, to the South-East of Uruguay’s coast. Within this investigation, he maintains a balance between the physical treatment of the photographic emulsion on paper, and the theme of the unlimited power of the water as a metaphorical space of contemplation.
Zinno mainly photographs run-down, ample spaces and forgotten childhood toys from another era. His photographic themes range from semi-abandoned childhood spaces, a country’s social deterioration and human traces that are not obviously visible, such as potted plants in an otherwise abandoned space. These intriguing photograph almost force the viewer to confront themselves facing the open spaces portrayed.
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