​© 2019 by Rodrigo Lara Zendejas

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I create memorials—fragmented and complex realities that formally break from their traditional constructions, and instead present an assemblaged version of themselves, which address our collective social and political thoughts, concerns, and hopes. Although I was trained in classical art, my current work does not adhere to those ideologies and methods. They are not always clean. Or finished. Or beautiful. Rather, my work holds the memory of an intimate process of becoming. Throughout my sculptures, I make visible obvious nooks and gashes, broad and quick strokes, all of which aided in the modeling of the clay during the process of bringing the subject to life. It is this visceral and intimate approach to materials and form that drive my subjects of memory and memorialization through my works.

 

When considering the human figure and its relationship to memorialization, immediate thoughts of bronze statues at historical sites come to mind. My fascination, however, is in the way that memory—with its inherent, ever-changing fluidity—disrupts our ability to fully or truthfully freeze, or memorialize people or perspectives in history. Instead, it is our momentary glimpses of memory and hindsight that drive how we understand the present.

 

As a Mexican immigrant in the United States, my works often rely on my own fragmented memories and stories of home, my direct experiences with fervent Catholicism, and the Others’ heroic (yet common) anecdotes of border crossings and acclimating to living in America. However, while my memories and relationships to patriotism, politics, and personal background, alongside my longing for the familiar certainly influence my work; it is my interest in the process of becoming, the poetics of the materials, and the act of making that motivates my continued practice.