José Luis Vargas Sideshow
A sideshow banner is a point of departure to enter “the show on the side”. And this show is a compressed macrocosm of an artists tendency to add and expand upon familiar territories.
This compulsive act to intervene on “ the given ” is a natural gesture that defines my work. Popular culture, science fiction, fantasy, sideshow banners, Haitian street paintings, African religions, voodoo, a Mexican wrestling mask (El Santo, to be specific), the supernatural, and shopping carts are elements that belong to different traditions and practices, and they are the context for my art. The context of the other.
Throughout the years, my studio practice and my imagination became portals for them to interact, fuse, dialogue, coexist, and to communicate. As a result, a binding of sorts naturally happened. And a new visual dimension was gained. A dimension that also validated the existence of all the elements I had been integrating.
One element that became a power element is the shopping cart. A practical object for shopping, obviously, but also a very useful object for many homeless people. I have also seen shopping carts that have been personalized, idealized, that illustrated the idiosyncrasy and eccentricity of a person.
In my case, the shopping cart became the personal museum. An object for displaying my own idiosyncrasy, for creating narratives through the combination of elements. And this object, that combined with the other elements create these alternative narratives, are the “strange things” that the sideshow banner advertises in the show at the Marlborough Viewing Room.