In The Studio | Challenging Gender Constructs with Performance Artist Vicente Ugartechea (NSFW)

In The Studio | Challenging Gender Constructs with Performance Artist Vicente Ugartechea (NSFW)

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Arts & Culture

Eros is a touring event that will combine works by international and local artists. 

These talented artists will be touring to showcase their art works, visiting Toronto's 8Eleven (December 16th) and Montreal at Projet Pangee (December 16th), and Godberd (December 22nd) with performances by Santiago Tamayo Soler, Marie Segolene, Vicente Ugartechea, Catie Rutledge, Holly Timpener and more. 

Inspired by the history of the Cabaret Voltaire, and the contemporary performance evenings such as NYC's Incarnata Social Club, this simple informal event aims to provide accessilibity to a variety of performance asethetics while bringing together international and local artists in an environment of open exploration. 

It just sounds fantastic to say the least. In order for us to get you prepared for their shows, I decided to explore their background and overall inspiration when it comes to the work. Let's dive into their world and get to know as many of them as possible, starting with Vicente Ugartechea, a transgender first generation American who explores landscapes of constructed normatives (amongst other things) through his art.

We asked them to answer a lil' Q&A for this In The Studio series leading up to the first date of the shows, and they delivered. 

How would you describe yourself in under 140 characters

I'm not a girl

Not yet a woman

All I need is fluidity

A gender that is mine

While I'm in between

I'm not a boy

Describe to us what a typical day in your eye looks like

I wake up every morning and get ready to the sound of house music (some Frankie Knuckles, Kevin Aviance) and early 90’s hip-hop/rap (Missy Elliott is everything). I find it particularly helpful in pulling together a winning look and getting into that cuntyness state of mind that allows me to succeed in life. I’ll then deal with emails, do some reading/writing and by midday I often find myself in conversation with T Clutch Fleischmann. They are an amazing trans artist, poet, and author of Syzygy Beauty. We’ll meet at our favorite Chicago leather bar, The Jackhammer, and exchange stories or ideas over games of pool in the glowing light of large monitors that play a cycle of gay porn flicks throughout the night. Actually, a prompt they gave me not too long ago inspired part of the writing in the current piece I’m performing in Eros. Then the night usually ends with a visit to The Hole, the basement of The Jackhammer, for some nice, wholesome, Christian fun. It’s kind of like a casino down there. There are no windows or clocks so there's a tendency get lost in all the pleasure; time slips away from you and the next thing you know, you’ll leave the bar to only be blinded by the sunrise outside. 


What is your favorite medium to work on

Performance because it doesn’t cost anything to be naked.

If you had to pick a gif that represents your practice what would it be

(Sylvia Rivera in her "Y'all better quiet down" speech)

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you

I know the entire choreography to Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights music video. You know, the one with the red outfit.

How do you translate tropes such as gender sexuality race and political structures through your art

All work is informed and shaped by lived experiences, identity, and the space you inhabit within our social economic matrix. As a trans, first generation Mexican-American, my work will never exist outside of those sociopolitical frameworks. Growing up in a country where being brown, trans, and queer will get me killed, the very action of my existence is political.

The manner in which I make work is autobiographical and informed by theory. That combination dictates what medium is appropriate for the piece i’m working on to manifest as. Because of that, i've been able to work in film, performance, sculpture, coding, painting, and various other forms.


What can someone expect from the Eros show coming to Montreal

One can expect fresh perspectives on queer/trans narratives articulated through tender, immersive and visceral performances. As a diverse queer powerhouse collective, I think we will put on a quite memorable show.

Any up coming projects you can tease us about with

I’m currently working on a project that deals with the performative language of sexual cruising and what it means to navigate within those spaces, both in the virtual and physical, as a trans or non-gender conforming individual.
I’m also working on a Frida Kahlo themed photo series that investigates gender presentation through the lexicon of my Mexican diaspora.

Whats to come

I have been granted two residencies, one in Germany with betOnest and another in Finland, to continue developing on this particular piece. Although the majority of my work is structured and presented by a serious tone, I hope to push into more into a queer camp aesthetic. I want consolidate serious issues I address with some visual levity.

I need more glitter, glam, confetti, and all around faggotry in my life.

We all do. 

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