Rodrigo Valenzuela's photographic series features photogravures of assemblages made in the artist's studio, a photomechanical process where a copper plate is etched with an image from a photographic negative, and then inked and run through a printing press. The images mimic the language of documentary photography, but at odd swith their apparent gravitas, the concrete pieces are in fact cast from discarded consumer packaging. Their immobility too is an illusion—all the forms ara carefully stacked and balanced, rather than cast as a whole or glued in place. Valenzuela’s previous work in photography, video, and installation often involves narratives around immigration and the working class. The layering of social critique, art historical awareness, re-evaluation of the traditions of documentary photography, and a sense of play are all equally signature to his work.
Valenzula's works across photography video and, installation merge his interes in art history, architecture, the concpet of work, and the realities of laborers. He builds scenes in his studio often working with simple building materials such as cinder blocks, pipes, wooden palettes, corrugated meta,l and two-by-fours. The resulting monochrome photographs constantly shift between flatness and architectural space, and between documentary photography and fiction, encouraging an incessant yet pleasurable tension. His compositions resemble mini ruins built from studio detritus, and are documentative of the artist’s performance in the studio. Simultaneously, they clearly reference certain Modernist masters—be it Abstract-Expressionist painters or Minimalist sculptors—as well as Latin-American Brutalist architecture.