Mexican born artist Emilio Rojas, who currently lives in Vancouver, Canada, works with performance, video, photography, installation, sculpture, and public interactions. Emilio’s work focuses on the relationship built by engagement with the audience, cohorts, family members, and site-specific locations. Emilio Rojas, expands upon issues of displacement, gender and sexuality through his unique multi-disciplinary techniques of visual interpretation, incorporation of the audience, and site-specificity.
Several of the performances are contingent to his personal life–the death of his uncle influenced his homage to those deceased in, Conversations with Death and Contemplating Silence. Many of Emilio’s projects are practiced yearly as personal rituals: A Present of Reflection is a yearly ritual where the artist remains silent for the duration of his birthday from midnight to midnight.
Emilio’s body of work stems from his exploration of self-identity, whether it is cultural identity, environmental identity, sexual identity or displacement. In his piece, Mestizo Zempoala (2012), Emilio created a fictitious Mexican wrestler in response to cultural and racial stereotypes. Working in site-specific location, such as the US Airways terminal, this work, created a “unique moment in time, space, aesthetics, and actions that create circumstances that challenge the audience. My body is not only a temple but the tool of my praxis and the vehicle for interaction with an ever-changing world”.
Emilio’s performed “El Salto” at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011. This piece explored institutional passages by utilizing location, identity, boundaries, and perspectives. Responding to his environment, Emilio illegally entered the Giardini (a parkland where the Biennale is held ) everyday through illegal means. “If caught, I should never accredit myself as an artist participating in the event”, he states about the performance which challenged security, personal courage, and the specific location chosen by the artist.
Emilio Rojas has a BFA from Emily Carr University in Film, Video, and Integrated Media. He has exhibited and performed globally and attended residencies such as, Elsewhere, The Surrey Art Gallery and The Hammock Residency. His work is currently represented by Galeria Nuble in Spain.
For further information on Emilio Rojas, visit his website.
S. Nicole Lane is a multidisciplinary artist and writer residing in Chicago, IL