SEBASTIÁN RIFFO MONTENEGRO
Chile, b. 1980. The artistic research of Sebastián Riffo Montenegro bases its origins on the study of the relationship that exists between image, message and receiver. Using theories from anthropology, sociology and consumer behavior, the artist manages to capture from the technique an elaborate critique of the culture of consumption and the creation of social beliefs. His work challenges and re-works the semiotic triad: sign -object- interpreting, challenging the viewer to get out of the customary comfort one has regarding the consumption of images.
The literalness of his stroke and the meticulousness of his technique seem to offer an unquestionable realism in which the images, textures and colors appear clear, frontal and concrete. However, the work of Riffo Montenegro inevitably impels the viewer to investigate the latent mystery that it offers, rethinking what is first consumed as a mere image. In the work of Riffo Montenegro, the pictorial image is deliberately worked from photographic records that make a direct reference to the technical reproducibility that defines our current consumer society. The work then acts as a catalyst for this criticism towards the unconscious consumption of images, towards the construction of social beliefs governed by the very pillars of society. Beliefs that, eventually deform our capacity and right to free will. The absence, paradoxically present in his work, and worked from the technique, the selection of palette and the handling of light, works as an even more present sign of this criticism.
Riffo Montenegro manages to veil the image and reveal meaning at the same time, making frank reference to socio-cultural icons that historically have shaped our unconscious discourse. Through these pictorial allegories, the work provokes in the spectator the need to unveil the image, to discover and understand a new meaning; rethinking and awakening in the individual, the free interpretation, proper to the human condition.