Lorenzo Triburgo
2020 AIM Emerging Artist Fellow 

Artist Statement

In my art practice I consistently confront the intersections of American identity, authenticity, and photography's critical role in framing and constructing our understanding of reality. I exploit the language/connotations of traditional studio portraiture, historical landscape, and nostalgia to flip conventional power dynamics that exist between photographer, subject, and outside viewer.


In my recent and forthcoming projects, I explore a continuum of gender expression, rejecting the false dichotomy of “cisgender” and “transgender.” I employ my gender fluidity both in a temporal and relational sense, as an individual and as a member of a queer couple.

 

Biography

Lorenzo Triburgo is a Bronx-born, Brooklyn-based, artist employing performance, photography, video, and audio to cast a critical lens on notions of the “natural” and the politics of queer representation. Triburgo's work can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago, Illinois) and the Portland Art Museum (Portland, Oregon). In 2019 they were an artist-in-residence at Baxter Street/The Camera Club of New York. Lorenzo Triburgo holds a BA in Photography/Gender Studies from New York University and an MFA in Photography/Related Media from the School of Visual Arts; they are a full-time Instructor of Photography and Queer Studies at Oregon State University.

 

Contact

  www.lorenzotriburgo.com

  @lorenzotriburgo

 

Credits

Images courtesy the artist.

Interview questions developed by 2020 AIM Curatorial Intern Niuniu Zhang.

Opposition
2020
Archival Pigment Print
5 x 6 in.
Photo: Lorenzo Triburgo and Sarah Van Dyck

Luna
2020
Archival Pigment Print
36 x 24 in.

Photo: Lorenzo Triburgo and Sarah Van Dyck

Q&A with Lorenzo Triburgo

What has been your most recent artistic concern?
My current project Shimmer Shimmer features figurative and still life photographs created in 2020 with my partner Sarah Van Dyck and draws influence from a history of queer visual activism, artists using New York City as a site of political disruption, and feminist use of the body as a political site - while staying true to my interest in camp aesthetics.

 

For Shimmer Shimmer, I stopped taking testosterone after 10 years of transgender “hormone therapy” as an exploration of my body as a site of literal and metaphorical gender abolition. My body and its metamorphosis towards gender ambiguity became source material for the project for which Sarah photographed my glitter-adorned nude form at the queer section of Riis Beach in Queens, our queer sanctuary - in January through March until the shutdown began. My figure holds familiar, gendered, art historical poses while subtle shifts in gesture and posture play alongside the physical ambiguity of my body to create a sense of defamiliarization in the viewer. The act of our collaboration is important to acknowledge as a form of resistance. As I perform for Sarah, her queer-femme perspective is prioritized, and that perspectival agency becomes the driving force of the project. The still lifes of glitter photographed as constellations were created in studio and reflect our belief that queerness and trans*queerness is magical. These photographs underscore a connection to queer astrology as a way for us and our chosen family to engage with spirituality outside of patriarchal religion.

 

The project was exhibited in October 2020 as the culmination of my residency with CCNY/Baxter St. With Chinatown as the backdrop outside the gallery window and in the political and emotional context of 2020, the conversations we had with visitors were profound.  In addition to our ideas around gender abolition, collaboration, astrology, and camp aesthetics, we found connection around  the importance of place and space for artists and queer communities — in particular as artists and other underrecognized cultural producers are having to leave the city due to loss of income and no rent relief. Having these conversations in front of the photographs of a trans/genderqueer figure shimmering with glitter and taking up metaphorical and literal space contributed to the sense of hope that we set-out to create. 

Venus
2020
Archival Pigment Print
48 x 32 in.
Photo: Lorenzo Triburgo and Sarah Van Dyck

Mars
2020
Archival Pigment Print
48 x 32 in.
Photo: Lorenzo Triburgo and Sarah Van Dyck

In your piece, Monumental Resistance: Stonewall your genderqueer body assumes a powerful stance while photographed exposed amidst a crowd of onlookers. As debates about monuments remain ongoing, what did you learn about monuments and their audiences in the process of creating your work?

During NYC Pride 2018 my partner and creative collaborator Sarah Van Dyck and I created over 3500 photographs in 15-second increments as I stood in place in front of the Stonewall Inn for 24 hours - midnight Friday night to midnight Saturday night.

 

As the current administration wields attacks on humanity, artists and activists are giving everything they’ve got to combat and bar #hewhoshallnotbenamed from succeeding. This results in what has been dubbed “resistance fatigue” -- the fatigue of being at 110%, constantly vigilant for days, weeks, months and now years on end. 

 

We created "Monumental Resistance: Stonewall," a time-lapse video and collection of still photographs, in order to resist “resistance fatigue.” With my genderqueer body exposed, I stood as a tribute to the transgender people of color who catalyzed the Stonewall Uprising of 1969 yet have largely been excluded from the ensuing civil rights advances. Sarah and I  wanted to send a message of solidarity and hope to our community - that we can keep standing for the world we want to see.

 

The interesting turn of events is that as I was standing, shirtless and shoeless for 24 hours, feeling acutely vulnerable, occasionally having doubts about my ability to accomplish my 24-hour goal, my queer community gave me hope and solidarity. When someone saw that I was cold they gave me their jacket to wear, and later someone gave me their dog to hold. I was given encouragement in the form of kisses on the cheek, hugs, selfies with me and inspirational cheers every step of the way. Over those 24 hours, Sarah and I celebrated the accomplishments of our movement and discussed the ways in which we need to keep pushing forward with thousands of queer people who visited the Stonewall Inn during Pride. It was a beautiful example of strength in community.

 

How have you been connecting to art or your art community during COVID?

During the past year I have continued to think about my art and practice as working towards queer liberation, but my sense of urgency is heightened.  I am forever grateful to my fellow 2020 AIM Fellows. I don't quite have the words to properly express the love I have for this cohort. These incredibly talented and radically brilliant artists showed up all year in such a real way. They showed up to talk through concepts, inspire new ways of thinking, work through our mutual fears and anxieties, and fan the fires that reside in each of us.

Monumental Resistance: Stonewall (still)

2018

Multimedia performance, photography, and time-lapse video 

Image: Lorenzo Triburgo and Sarah Van Dyck

 

 

Monumental Resistance: Stonewall (still)

2018

Multimedia performance, photography, and time-lapse video 

Image: Lorenzo Triburgo and Sarah Van Dyck

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