@ Juan Diego Valera
There is the stretch of grain, the hint of digital noise, and the ocular insolence of a mouse being lost in the jaws of a snake’s culinary embrace.
By Brad Feuerhelm, ASX, January 2015
The edifice is indeed colossal in the work of Juan Diego Valera. Diente De Chucho (Tooth Pooch) is a strange photographic foray into the lives and facades of Ciudad de Guatemala. There is a palpable dysrhythmia that pervades the book. The narrative, much like the city itself, exudes a heightened sense of displacement. In this city, we wrap ourselves in an alien skin and continue to stand as sentient weavers of a cultural fiction we cannot easily craft. We are foreigners here. We do not acclimate quickly to the city’s custom, its people, or our own presence within but rather, we continue on exploring and observing its denizens with equal parts of dread and romance.
In Diente de Chucho, images are received to the viewer in singularity. They are purposefully used as uneven, but perplexing psychological games edited to make evident the nature of their solitary and ambiguous meaning. There is the stretch of grain, the hint of digital noise, and the ocular insolence of a mouse being lost in the jaws of a snake’s culinary embrace. Because the editing of the book relies heavily on single images that are disjointed from the next, everything feels queer here. Each single image makes it more and more of a splintered and calloused affair.
@ Juan Diego Valera
Here, our understanding of life is now a listless and glass-eyed three-legged mule whose habits have met concrete to disastrous effect.
Ciudad is a place where violence is not whispered, but rather convivially showcased. Here, we fuck and we look then we fuck some more and then look towards the dusty heavens and try and make piece with our god. His emissaries are bearing blood red hooded gowns. There is the processions dull humming in our skulls and the sound of impaired feet dragging across asphalt as the holy moan of chosen men carry the light from god’s mouth to our ears. Here, our understanding of life is now a listless and glass-eyed three-legged mule whose habits have met concrete to disastrous effect.
There are implications of answers to be given in the third city of god, but there will never be truth. There is only the hidden reverse. A reverse that is rich in blood, fever, and desire, but a reverse that also consume order and reveal nothing but the existential. That is to say, Diego Valera enforces through his work a rule of chaos, which cannot be translated. Its consuming disarticulation instead becomes gristle for our imaginations and that as all time passes, we are left, in our understanding, naked and cold as the day we gasped for our first breath.
Diente De Chucho (Tooth Pooch)
Juan Diego Valera
Ca l’Isidret Edicions
Brad Feuerhelm, Managing Editor for ASX is a photography collector, curator, dealer, and writer on art.
(All rights reserved. Text @ Brad Feuerhelm. Images @ Juan Diego Valero.)