06 Mar What we see.
Grouping like things together is something that we are taught to do from an early age, but what do we do with things, people and circumstances that blur the lines and the groups? In the work of Luis Gispert, we are forced to confront these issues in a new light through the contrast that is created between what we see and what we expect. A lot of Gispert’s work features a mixture of common stereotypes that are present in today’s society and puts them out of context creating a contrast. Once these stereotypes are out of context we are then forced to analyze why and how we associate certain activities, behavior, dress, and objects to certain people and certain cultures. Through this process Gispert is able to reveal some issues that are not often confronted, recognized, or thought about by the viewer.
In Foxy Xerox, Gispert films a woman in a tracksuit wearing excessive amounts of jewelry that is commonly associated with rappers and hip hop artists. He then parallels this image with the same actress dressed the same way, while wearing excessive jewelry, however the actress is now in black face and wearing a wig. While these two images play parallel to each other, they switch back and froth being making sounds that are often made during poplar rap and hip-hop songs. I feel that the artist is not making any one particular comment on the stereotypes that exist today. I feel he purposely created a collage of stereotypes to force the viewer to confront his or her own thoughts and feelings about particular stereotypes. When I saw this piece with a group of colleagues there was mass confusion and differentiating opinions on what the artist’s statement was, because each one of my colleagues resonated with one or more of the different stereotypes. The range of potential critiques that I was able to notice in this piece include: Female and male gender roles and, racial cultures. I am positive there could be more critiques that exist with in this piece.
In another piece called Can’t it be that it was all so simple then, Gispert uses a Caucasian woman dressed in a cheerleader outfit. The actress lip sings the lyrics to a very violent hip hop or rap song. I feel that Gispert in this piece is a lot more specific on the critique that he makes with this piece than in Foxy Xerox. One usually associates innocence and purity with cheerleaders. By using a very masculine and violent song, it creates a very clear contrast. One expects anyone who dresses or looks that way to act and behave in a certain way when sometimes it is not true and vise versa.
The lyrics relay the methods of how someone would torture someone else. More often than not, people do not tend to really sit down and listen to the lyrics of the music they listen to regularly. When Gispert uses this innocent façade to repeat this song, it forces to viewer to realize, what the words actually mean.