My tattoos are like heridas esteticas, countries in my biographical map, Scripted words as opposed to my scars, which are like unscripted sentences in the open book of my body”
Emilio Rojas (Mexico/Canada) (ca.1985, Mexico City) is a multidisciplinary artist, working primarily with the bodyin performance, using film, video, photography, installation, public interventions and sculpture. Rojasutilizes his body in a political and critical way, as an instrument to unearth removed traumas, embodied forms of decolonization, migration and poetics of space. He has attended numerous residencies including the Banff Centre, Elsewhere Museum, the Surrey Art Gallery, the Botin Foundation, Hammock Residency, and Pirate Camp: Stateless Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale.
His works have been exhibited in the US, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Austria, England, Greece, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Australia. Besides his artistic practice, Emilio is also a translator,community activist, yoga teacher, and anti- oppression facilitator with queer, migrant and refugee youth. He recently graduated from the MFA in the performance department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2017), where he was awarded the New Artist Society Scholarship. Galeria Jose de la Fuente in Spain and Gallleriapiú in Italy, represents Rojas’ work.
The performance was a collaboration between myself and 30 tattoo artists from Mexico, US, and Canada. It explored the limits of the body as a site of trauma, tattoos as aesthetic wounds, and the definition of aesthetics from different national perspectives. The tattoo artists were asked to create tattoos with the text “ heridas esteticas” and “aesthetic wounds” using the font that they believe to be the most aesthetic one, using the two 11 cm scars in my left arm as guidelines to write on my body. (the remnant of my first wound and memory of pain).
The performance was performed twice, once in Chicago with the English text, at Rapid Pulse and once in Mexico City, with the Spanish text, at Universidad de la Comunicación. During the performance people choose by voting which tattoo gets permanently inked in my body, but also communally select the process in to arrive to a consensus. Asking the public to engage by leaving a permanent mark through a democratic process of their choosing.
ARAHMAIANI (INDONESIA) | ANDREW BARCO (US) | ANNA BERNDTSON (SWEDEN/GERMANY) | WAFAA BILAL (IRAQ/US) | JEFFERY BYRD (US) | PATE CONAWAY (US) | JESS DOBKIN (CANADA) | ZACKARY DRUCKER (US) | ARIANNA FERRARI (ITALY) | FRANCESCA FINI (ITALY) | BEVERLY FRE$H (US) | ANNA FELICITY FRIEDMAN (US) | ARTI GRABOWSKI (POLAND) | FAUSTO GRACIA (MEXICO) | ALLISON HALTER (US/GERMANY) | SARA HOLWERDA (US) | ELANA KATZ (US/GERMANY) | ELENA KATSULIS & ERIN PEISERT (US) | JOSHUA KENT (US) | MEHDI-GEORGES LAHLOU (BELGIUM) | CARLOS SALAZAR LERMONT (VENEZUELA) | MILLER & SHELLABARGER (US) | ŞÜKRAN MORAL (TURKEY) | MOTHERGIRL (US) | BORIS NIESLONY (GERMANY) | WANDA RAIMUNDI-ORTIZ (US) | JEFFERSON PINDER (US) | EMILIO ROJAS (MEXICO/CANADA) | KAMBUI OLUJIMI (US) | ROOMS (US) | FERESHTEH TOOSI (US) | ALICE VOGLER (US) | DOLORES WILBER + SARAH WILBER (US) | JULIE WILLS (US) | ZIERLE & CARTER (UK)