Q&A with Rodrigo Valenzuela: The Mesmerizing Depth and Desolation of Desert Landscapes

During the recent Material Art Fair in Mexico City, gallery artist Rodrigo Valenzuela spoke with Hyperallergic's Anna Furman about work from the series New Land and Sense of Place.

Using a multi-step photocopying process, Valenzuela projects abstract lines onto unpeopled desert scenes — hinting at houses, governmental offices, and memorial structures yet to be built. Valenzuela’s labor-intensive practices reference the paperwork-heavy process of applying for citizenship in the US, with which he’s directly familiar. He’s now a professor with permanent residency, but when he first moved to the US in his 20’s, he was an undocumented construction worker. He spoke to Hyperallergic about growing up in Chile during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, reckoning with the troubling histories of beautiful landscapes, and reconciling the idealized American Dream with the realities of life as an undocumented person.
— Anna Furman for Hyperallergic
New Land No. 10  by Rodrigo Valenzuela, 2017

New Land No. 10 by Rodrigo Valenzuela, 2017