Portraits and Beauty by Damian Siqueiros.
The photographs of Damián Siqueiros illustrate his recurring concerns surrounding the construction of identity. Doing so by the represented elements, as well as the technique that he uses. Content and form are woven into a fabric of continuous reflection and open to questioning of our self-representation and the world, of what we consider to be essential and true. Each image constitutes the aestheticized shaping of a struggle that is at the same time intimate and social.
The creation of his images brings him to have a multidisciplinary practice: he becomes a make-up artist, stage designer, director, photographer and digital artist. The fist stage, the pre-production, concentrates on creating the character. The choices made on the styling and the make-up are fundamental. The photo shoots comes right after, either on the studio or on set. The last part of the process is the postproduction, where the image is slightly retouched or constructed according to each project. But most importantly it is a part of the process where the images get a lot of their richness of texture.
In terms of content, the construction of gender identity is a constant in his oeuvre, and this is particularly relevant in his series Life as an Everyday Performance, Sacred performances: a Couple of Rules and The Heroides (The Heroines). Over the last decades the definition of identity in relation to the biological sex and it social representation has become increasingly complex. In great part trough feminists and Queer theories. The artist values keenly the ideas of Judith Butler, in which ‘gender’ becomes a performance. These notions take form in the preconceived ideas that surround masculinity and virility, and that is set in opposition (or not) to femininity that constitutes “the other”.
His work can be read, then, as an allegory of the performativity of identity. It is an attempt to represent what cannot be seen. It is a colourful way of treating the incongruity of the unitary and unchanging conception of the human being. The ‘allegory’ seems to be an appropriate term to describe the works of Damián Siqueiros, as it is closely related to classical painting, as the photo-painting style rendering of the images suggests.
ABOUT DAMIAN SIQUEIROS
Damián Siqueiros is a Montreal based image maker, a photographer, not the kind that reflects reality, but the kind that imagines one to transform it into something tangible, most often through multidisciplinary work, may this be art direction, stage design, make-up or styling.
As a commercial photographer he helps clients find their visual voice and express themselves through compelling imagery that makes long lasting impressions. That not only improves their sales, but inspires their public. Such is the case of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Vogue Mexico, Elle Mexico and Porrua bookstore.
As an artist he is an avid defender of gender equality and he works for the acceptance of diversity as key elements to better our world. He does it ever so gently through an aesthetic that draws from the great masters of painting, such as Caravaggio, Rembrandt and JW Waterhouse. With his work he seeks to provoke emotions, change conversations and respectful confrontation. His work has earned him great opportunities of being exhibited in museums and galleries throughout North America and Europe. It has also earned him the opportunity to work with amazing artist who he admires, such as choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Canadian dance icon Margie Gillis.
Damián is a beauty seeker, not the shallow version of it, but the one that often hides from the eyes, the one that embraces and enhances the transformative power of art. He is a seeker of beauty because, as Dostoyevsky said “beauty will save the world” and he plans to do it one image at a time.