Camilo Cortes

Artist Statement

In this Body of work, I reflect on my queer identity through cultural and religious influences. I examine childhood experiences through rituals of intimacy that create a safe space for processing. I explore the idea of comfort in material interactions in artifacts such as metal-covered yarn, plaster with dead skin, and textiles with hair. The materials evoke a deliberate physical/emotional vulnerability when activating them through performance. These manifestations of chaos navigate the mental and physical relationships queer individuals develop through the search for themselves.

Exploring the sadomasochistic exchange between viewer and artist, I use comfort materials such as white bedsheets and crocheting red yarn to contrast with plaster and metal in an effort to unsettle the viewer while also contemplating the boundaries between comfort and pain. The environment created introduces these sensations to the viewer, investigating the relationship between privacy and vulnerability allowing spectators into this “personal” space, where the recording of the performance confronts the viewer’s position in relation to the hurting performing body.

My work confronts pain and masochism, feelings, and practices. I view these emotions and rituals as tools to process trauma and mental turmoil caused by existing as a queer Latino body. By subjecting my body to physical and emotional vulnerability, I visualize the complex and confusing process of dealing with a troubled identity and coming to terms with one’s queerness and cultural connection. With this space and practice, the use of these tools aims to heal and alleviate residual scars and uncertainty in my being. I utilize my body to uniquely connect with the spectators. At the moment, this work primarily exists in the personal field, with the hope to expand into a collective form in the future.