Curated by Christina Fernandez, a new exhibition at Gallery Luisotti selects works by seven conceptual photographers based in the Los Angeles area, whose performative actions are intended to be seen in the form of the still image. The artists are William Camargo, James Francisco Garcia, Arlene Mejorado, Star Montana, Aydinaneth Ortiz, Juan Manuel Valenzuela, and Christopher Anthony Velasco.

Living and working in Southern California, these young Chicano/a artists have formed a community of peers and are supported by each other artistically, professionally, and socially. Their work is informed by a shared Latinx history and lineage that includes ASCO’s “No Movies”, work by Laura Aguilar, as well as photographs by Fernandez herself, all of whom devised performative gestures for the camera.

El Cuerpo: The (Performing) Body and the Photographic Stage features work in which the artist is both the maker and the subject. Each artist constructs situations that are performed in front of the camera, and in doing so demonstrates an awareness of conditions of self-presentation. This includes considering oneself within the built environment or surrounding landscape—and, more specifically, in relation to Los Angeles as a place and its complex conditions as a backdrop.

The featured works range in content from presentations of the body through portraits and self-portraits, to depictions of mundane middle-class experiences, to politicized interactions with gendered settings and situations. Personal rituals, intimate sexual imagery, and intricate family experiences are all part of the artists’ performative acts for the camera. The results are excavations of individual identities contextualized through experiences of the city and its suburbs and underpinned by conceptual approaches to image making rather than by social documentary or narrative photography.