South of the Tracks is pleased to present, The Transparency of Evil, a two-person exhibition featuring new work from Chicago-based artists Kate Hampel & Ivan Lozano. Join us for the opening reception will take place Sunday, June 4th, 1 – 5pm at 4223 W. Lake St.
With THE TRANSPARENCY OF EVIL, Ivan LOZANO and Kate Hampel explore the processes we implement psychologically to manage the intersection of media and reality. Their works in this exhibition guide us to consider our role as a spectator amid the confluence of atrocity and trauma that is projected visually into and across our lives, and the denials we allow at the hands of those manipulating media to gain power and control. Through images culled from blogs and videos posted by and about terror, the Narco murders in Mexico and the Islamist terrorist purges of those deemed infidel, LOZANO and Hampel direct our attention to these sources of communication that feed the digital streams of information we consume, and force us to confront our complicity in these manipulations of our emotions that occur in response. We are challenged with the recognition that as spectators, even as this serves to potentially diminish us, we fail to fully confront what is situated within the banal.
Ivan LOZANO (b. 1981, Guadalajara, Mexico) works with difficult digital images to transubstantiate them into something beautiful. In this body of work, images of spectacular murder scenes and dead bodies, mostly anonymous casualties of the Narco conflict in Mexico, collide with sumptuous tourist shots of sunsets from Puerto Vallarta, the vacationer’s paradise in his native state of Jalisco. These digital images, mundane in their accessibility through a quick image search, are printed and transferred onto clear packing tape through a labor intensive manual process (with each link taking about 30 minutes of work) and are subsequently woven and collaged into hypnotizing, colorful patterns. LOZANO provides, with these works, a Gothic dreadful pleasure in the uncanny recognition of the horror our brain suddenly perceives in the accumulation of pigment on acrylic film, which slowly seeps into our perception of the work and haunts our memory of these digital palimpsests.
Kate Hampel (b. 1983, Toronto, Canada) is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice explores the spectacle of violence from the individual to the institutional, and from the personal to the geopolitical. Her recent research into the aesthetics of terror has led to a body of work that examines the formal and repetitive elements of the beheading video as genre, breaks down the digital constituent parts and reimagines them as a material whole. Her process echoes that of the genre’s originators, lurking eerily between the slickness of high-quality image production and the visible strings of amateur theatre. Re-staging the all too familiar scenes using the physical and geographical markers of America’s Middle West, Hampel takes her constructed landscape to life-size proportions and shifts the viewer from their customary vantage point, hunched over 16:9 screen. From here it is possible to see ourselves stepping within the scene, and to observe our own spectatorship as consumers of this performed violence.