It's hard to believe that Cultural Contamination is the first U.S. exhibit for Argentinian artist, Facundo Bengoechea. The show, at the 145 Galleries, opened to an appreciative and large crowd last Thursday.
There are 36 works in the exhibition. They use extracts of Bengoechea's previous work in fashion photography and meld ithem with abstract forms. The show is generally comprised of repetitive, blurry portraits of nudes hidden behind bubble wrap. The faces are indiscernible and the bodies blend together like reflections over a rippling pool. The back wall shows a Sigmund Freud quote: “Why is it so difficult for mankind to be happy?
The bubble wrap is an artificial cover that clouds the subjects and separates them from the world and each other, representing the human crisis of interpersonal relationships.
The general thesis of the show is straightforward. Humankind is separating itself from its environment by creating artificial barriers to intimacy and understanding. The repetition of the wrap allude to a Brave New World-like structure of physically beautiful people packaged and ready to go.
The show asks only one question, but when it is a question with such philosophical repercussions, it deserves to be asked strongly. And that's just was Bengoechea does.
Review by John Hutt
Photos by Ali Rajabi