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Manuel Solano and Hannah Quinlan / Rosie Hastings : 15 Young LGBTQ Artists Driving Contemporary Art Forward


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Manuel Solano
B. 1987, Mexico City, Mexico. Lives and works in Mexico City.

Many of the narratives behind your work are very personal. Would you say that making work that is closely tied to your experiences is empowering?

My interest in art has always been the exploration and expression of my own personal identity. I am only interested in art inasmuch as it puts me in the world or puts another person closer to me. Art that doesn’t contain an identity is worthless to me. I look back at my life and the expression of my self has been the only real endeavor for me and I haven’t really done anything else with my life. I guess it’s not a question of why it’s important. It’s the apprehension that I am the center of things, and so the expression of my identity becomes a natural function.

Can you describe the process that goes into your paintings?

I usually start with an idea that tickles me and start thinking about images we can translate onto the canvas. I describe the image and what I’m trying to get at with it to my assistant. Then, he starts sketching. Sometimes we look for references online, sometimes I have to pose myself to get a sketch just right. My assistant then lays out the key points of the sketch on canvas using pins and pipe cleaners, which I feel and adjust if necessary. Then, for the painting, it is a little like painting by numbers, only we follow the shapes and locations the pins mark on the canvas, rather than numbers. They look like relatively simple flat paintings, but the process makes them very complicated to make.
Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings
B. 1991, Newcastle, United Kingdom; B. 1991, London, United Kingdom. Both live and work in London.

What drives you to document LGBTQ spaces, as you did in your project The UK Gay Bar Directory?

We started filming gay bars with a GoPro camera in 2014, with no particular outcome in mind. Before we knew it Candy Bar, the George and Dragon, and Joiners Arms—all busy, successful, and culturally important gay bars in London—had shut their doors followed by a spate of other closures nationally. Between 2006 and 2017, 58 percent of LGBTQ venues closed down; it was an epidemic.
In response to these closures and the heightened atmosphere of fear and mourning in the community, we dedicated nine months to traveling the U.K., forcing ourselves into male-dominant or male-only spaces, filming gay bars, and creating an archive that would function both as an art work, a public resource, and a call to arms. There was an urgency to the project that drove us to such a gargantuan undertaking. Often, we would arrive in a city and a much-loved gay bar had closed its doors only days before. The feeling of loss permeated the archive, which has a ghostly, elegiac quality.

Do you believe your work responds to––or critiques––hierarchies at play in the LGBTQ community?

We explore how the contemporary gay rights movement has aligned itself with the state, the police, the military, and with property developers at the expense of its own community. But, we are interested in the messy, gray areas, where these alignments blur with sexual fantasy, such as BDSM, or are complicated by personal narratives. Often, it feels that we are handling extremely sensitive rubrics of power. How do we work to historically contextualize a community ravaged by AIDS, neglected by the government, whilst acknowledging the underlying leverage of white supremacy in the distribution of resources allocated to this community?
Drawing has been an important medium to explore how the dynamics of power play out in the social sphere, infusing each scene with social tension that vacillates between love and violence. It’s this point, between love and violence, or critique and celebration, that excites and intrigues us.
artsy.net

LGBT and Art 93.jpg

LGBT and Art 94.jpg

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