THE ARTIST EKTOR GARCIA SUBMITS TO NEVER BEING SATISFIED
The Mexican-American artist ektor garcia (lower case intended) makes work that speaks to the multiplicity and pain of queered experience. In his hands, materiality becomes a tongue; roles are subverted through process, latent potential unearthed simply enough through context and juxtaposition. Woven rubber, latex, crocheted doilies — garcia’s exploratory craft upends craft itself, creating multiple discreet meanings while simultaneously exploiting the power of ambiguity. Currently on view as part of the New Museum’s Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon, garcia’s “series of site-specific, readymade sculptures,” as the press materials dub them, are on view through early 2018. His solo show, cochi opens at LA’s Visitor Welcome Center November 4th. After a studio visit with the artist in his New Museum work space, PIN–UP caught up with him over email about submission, dominance, and satisfaction.
Talk to me about submission. How does that idea comes into play in a public space like the New Museum?
I submit to materials, but also try to dominate them. I am in their service, constantly obeying their behavior, but I’m also forcing them to misbehave and to work for me. There is much pain and pleasure in the work I do. At times I feel I can’t have one without the other.
What do you want the viewer to take away from your Trigger installation?
In my dream world, I would love for the viewer to learn something about themselves in my work. I purposefully never finish or complete a piece. I want the viewers to complete it for themselves. I provide more questions rather than answers.
How might one communicate desires around dominance, submission, and subversion in a sex club setting?
I feel people should feel free and good in any public space. Unfortunately “pleather bars” are not submissive enough to allow women, trans, or gender non-conforming folks to enter their “safe space.” Nothing makes sense.
When I was in Mexico City the last time I didn’t get a chance to check out Tom’s Leather Bar. I know you’ve gone a lot. How do you feel about the design of the space? Can you talk to me about the design of the space? Is it a backroom? No windows? Red light?
Yes, the design is hilarious, gothic, cheesy, porky, porny, artsy, sleazy, sweaty, sexy, kool. They have back rooms, back rubs, back pickpocketing, and back stabbing. An LED-animated text that tells you to watch your back, and not to be a pendejo. The windows are dark. I don’t know how secretive it is. Ask and you find out. Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.
So have you been to Club Spartacu’s in Mexico City?
No, I've never been to Spartacu’s. I hear it's a far cab ride into the netherlands of the gigantic beast that is Mexico City. I bike everywhere, except there. It sounds like a bad idea to drink and ride that far for a good night. Who knows, I’m crazy enough to go along with another brave cyclist.
When was a time you were satisfied? Are you ever?
Never satisfied, especially not with myself or my work. I believe it is why I continue to work towards an ideal that is never good enough. Yet I try, continue, fail, and try some more.
Interview and photography by Sean Santiago.