What horrible news, with more coming every day, from Venezuela! Alexander Apóstol, Venezuelan-born and Madrid-based, has a take on his country’s descent into madness in Dramatis Personae, a photo work, showing in Paris right now.
The visitor is confronted with a grid of black and white portraits, each showing a Venezuelan archetype: some timeless, some, very unfortunately, stuck in the here and now. There’s Simon Bolívar, a beauty queen, a rioting student, and a journalist with a shiny black eye.
Look closer, and we realise that these photos aren’t showing the real deal. (In case the title of the exhibition, and the fact Bolívar’s been dead for almost two centuries, didn’t tip you off…)
Instead, Apóstol’s dramatis personae are all local drag performers. Staring face on to the camera, with stonily haughty expressions.
This edge of camp lends the very dignified poses and personas an acrid bitterness. It must be a very alienating and strange experience to be a Venezuelan artist abroad, with bad news coming every day.
Alexander Apóstol: Venezuelan Pastoral is at Mor Charpentier (Paris). 16 March – 4 May 2019