“To inform a narrative with stone is to intensely inhabit the preposition with,” suggests Jeffrey Jerome Cohen in Stone: An Ecology of the Inhuman. “It’s to maneuver from solitary individualisations to ecosystems, environments, shared businesses, and companionate properties.” As purveyors of deep time, rocks and their mineral composites are hybrid storytellers. Their our bodies mirror an ongoing geological strategy of becoming-with, making seen the lengthy period of our planet’s exercise that human reminiscence precludes. Within the startling, surreal work of the Mexico Metropolis-based self-taught painter Horacio Quiroz, gargantuan our bodies deftly rendered in hypnotic chunks of stone toggle between the private and the planetary. Hovering between human and nonhuman worlds, these legendary beings reject binary approaches to gender or embodiment, as an alternative reveling in the potential for indeterminacy.
Introduced inside “Goddesses of Spoiled Lands” at Annka Kultys Gallery, the artist’s first solo exhibition within the UK, are a sequence of eight work and animated NFT doubles that fuse Quiroz’s curiosity in mythology together with his signature lithic portray method. Citing the crumbling and idiosyncratic qualities of the sidewalks in Mexico Metropolis as one supply of inspiration, Quiroz doubles-up on rocks’ wealthy metaphorical strata—as a service bag of cosmic historical past, as signposts for innumerable entropic occasions, as laborious proof of the interconnectedness of all matter—to speak the probabilities of such an expanded perspective. “Rocks for me are concurrently a illustration of actuality, the cosmic, the geological, and the human,” shares Quiroz. “They’re monolithic composts that construct ephemeral goddesses composed of legends, tales and beliefs which have shaped layer after layer of human thought since its look on Earth.”
“Goddesses of Spoiled Lands” presents such fabulous deities encased in blocky, striated marbling and set in opposition to an alien sky of an ombre pedigree. Rendered in hypnotic pastels and buttery oil paint, obvious contradictions abound inside these scenes: delicate and laborious surfaces, female and male genitals, human and animal anatomies, megalithic stone statues to historic gods and banal icons of the trendy comfort economic system (Easter Island heads, often known as mo’ai by the Rapa Nui individuals who carved them, butt up in opposition to pale Amazon bins in Makemake’s Voguing (2023)). Quiroz’s goddesses vogue and creep, dance and sway; they stoop sassily and bend over in platform boots, emanating a queer pleasure of lithic liminality. Every work’s title eludicates its topic, which Quiroz pulls from world mythologies, paying significantly shut consideration to origin tales throughout cultures.
Whereas layering the generative capacities of casting chunks of stone as each proof of humanity’s harmful previous and the uncooked materials for constructing various futures, Quiroz is equally crucial of the western mythologies he onboards. In Luperca’s Modification (2023), as an illustration, we encounter the self-sacrificing she-wolf goddess who nursed Roman baby-kings Romulus and Remus. However right here, the roles are reversed: Luperca manifests as an intersex human made out of rubble, decked in chunky sun shades and reclining on a palatial terrazzo ground. Her breasts are bitten off by the monstrous twins, whose toothy mouths gape broad as their flounder-like eyes gaze hauntingly out on the viewer. By positioning the human because the caretaker in his reinterpretation of this traditional scene, Quiroz suggests our duty to nourish the planet quite than stay extractivist infants.
Different work reinterpet indigeneous deities via a queer lens, drawing on drag aesthetics as a lot as cosmological imagery. In Pachamama’s Beat (2023), the Earth Mom goddess revered by the indigenous peoples of the Andes seems draped over a terrazzo wall. Her anatomy is piecemeal: a pair of marbled crossed arms, laced in frilly opera gloves, chunky sun shades, and a dangling pearl necklace, with some form of beret prickling like a sea urchin. Mountains rise within the absence of her chest, framing a pale blue dot that might be her coronary heart. In Ometeotl’s twerking (2023), the planet floats increased within the image aircraft; glowing a Mars-like crimson, it turns into the anus of two fused gods, often known as one to the Aztecs, defiantly postgender.
Paul B. Precadio’s 2008 essay “Anal Utopia” highlights the liberating potentials of refusing to take part in hetero-productivity; for Precadio, the anus is an icon, a “bio-port” that rejects capitalist revenue in favor of vulnerability, bullshit, and ecological non-production. There’s, as Jack Halberstam would put it, a queer pleasure baked into this refusal. Although Ometeotl’s twerking (2023) is maybe probably the most overt depiction of such provocative playfulness, it spans different works like Venus’s Strikes (2023) and Makemake’s Voguing (2023). Within the former, the classical goddess of affection is rendered in thick chunks of marble; a cartoonish shell acts as an oxidised fig leaf, whereas one hand extends a comb into billowing hair as her different tugs playfully on a phallic hairdryer. Within the latter, Quiroz’s pleasure in remixing and sensualising historical past is palpable: a tongue flops over a marble frieze of the final supper that depicts the disciples congregating round a macbook. Makemake’s physique is a collaging of wealthy marble rendered as a harp, but its strings are changed with chunky drill bits.
The three smallest canvases of the present—Vesta’s Lecherousness, Apollo’s Rhythm 1, and Apollo’s Rhythm 2 (all 2023)—supply extra intimate close-ups of two Roman deities. Referred to as the virgin goddess of the house, Vesta is most frequently represented as a flame; right here, she friends on the burning wick of her personal nipple, a pair of mirrored embers flickering brightly in chunky sun shades. Apollo, in the meantime, is proven as a coy instrument rendered in brass bars, clean marble, what seems to be like confetti-colored reconstituted foam, and a flopping phallus. His egg-like face friends out coyly from the criminal of his arm; defiantly cheeky but wholly inscrutable.
“To consider rocks and different planetary matter as media can be to see them as agential,” argues Dana Luciano in Talking Substances. “They don’t seem to be inert matter however energetic forces, speaking with us throughout deep time.” It’s this simultaneous depth of information, coupled with a refusal of a simple learn, that retains Quiroz’s goddesses so beguiling and heterogeneous in that means. The titular lean of Goddesses of Spoiled Lands might recommend a planet in peril, however these fabulous protagonists—cobbled collectively from the detritus of civilisation—additionally supply us a future that’s saturated with queer risk.
at Annka Kultys Gallery, London
till September 2, 2023