Related features photographs alongside a mixed media installation by first-generation Cuban American Anthony Goicolea. Noted for his photographic narratives, staged compositions, where Goicolea plays every character in provocative charades and exploits, he now turns to the subject of the family album. The exhibition is comprised of drawings and photographs that resemble portraiture from the mid-1800s, a time when the innovation of the tintype process transported image-making from the hand of the artist to the lens of the camera.
In Related Goicolea reclaims the faces of relatives lost to memory through his family’s journey from Cuba to the US. The act of making the work for the exhibition turns a sense of loss into reconnection with his ancestral lineage. Images of dinner tables with empty seats symbolically extend invitations for the artist to rejoin and discover his family circle.
While Goicolea’s earlier work explored the subjects of androgyny, puberty and homosexuality—often with a dose of humor—through reactments and photographs, it also raised questions of personal identity, history, and time. Related furthers these investigations into humanistic concerns with appearance. He questions how images, tangible or imagined, and perceptions intertwine. Like Goicolea contemporary artists Annette Messager and Loran Simpson have explored, each in different ways, identity construction, process, and reclamation.
Overall, Giocolea’s work can be read as the making of a diary of experiences that confront the idea of self. In Related, he dives into this process with somber observations of the relationships between memory and his own reconstruction of events and people from his past to bring them present. Pairing family pictures side-by-side with drawings, Giocolea transposes the concept of original and reproduction. Related presents a fascinating chronology of the portraitist, an ever changing reinvention.