The films of Elena López Riera intermingle observational documentary, essayistic work, and filmic portraiture. The artist’s poetic representations of individuals and settings are highly specific to her native coastal Southern Spain, yet also serve as microcosms that represent social and cultural phenomena resonating the world over.
Los que desean (Those Who Desire) (2018) chronicles the colombicultura of Valencia, an exclusively male subculture devoted to raising and training homing pigeons, or palomas, for competition. The film depicts a paloma race in the artist’s hometown, for which the trainers brightly paint and decorate their birds. The winner of this special competition is not the fastest bird, but the male pigeon who is able to chase and “conquer” a single female bird. The artist’s film is a portrait not just of the animal world, but also of the men who train these birds, exploring the cultural mores and codes of masculinity that structure the colombicultura and also the community at large. Those Who Desire dissects notions of identity, sexuality, and the social project of collectively constructing and fostering contemporary gender identities.
Organized by Jocelyn Miller, Assistant Curator, MoMA PS1.