MoMA PS1 presents the first solo museum exhibition of Bronx-based artist Elle Pérez. Pérez’s photographs distill moments of intimacy and emotional exchange: a bloody hand resting between parted legs; the scar gracing a bare chest; twinned rocks nestled against an outcropping; a friend’s face grazed by sunlight. Emerging from collaborative relationships with their protagonists, Pérez’s images are entangled with the people and scenarios they depict. They meld traditional categories of portraiture, still life, and landscape to explore a diffuse and everyday erotic life; public space is laden with private meaning, while private moments are made deliberately public. Offering degrees of access to these intimate scenes, Pérez underscores the political weight of visibility and, in turn, representation. With a gaze privileging care and particularity over documentary distance, they suggest how an image might reflect, rather than stifle, the shifting nature of identity and desire. Presented alongside photographs made over the past three years, a new collage gathering images and written notes unspools the encounters and affections held within the photographs’ individual frames, creating a circuitous web of past moments.
Elle Pérez (American, b. 1989) lives and works in New York City. Pérez recently held a solo exhibition at 47 Canal, New York, and their work has been exhibited at The Stonewall National Museum & Archives, Ft. Lauderdale, and the Bronx Documentary Center, New York, among other venues. Pérez is a founding member of Junte, a local and international artist collective and visual art project based out of Adjuntas, Puerto Rico. They are currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University, and a Dean at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.
Elle Pérez: Diablo is organized by Klaus Biesenbach, Director, MoMA PS1, and Chief Curator at Large, The Museum of Modern Art; with Josephine Graf, Curatorial Assistant, MoMA PS1.