This exhibition in the Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art features two videos by Rodrigo Valenzuela (born 1982 in Chile, lives and works in Los Angeles). Each explores a specific aspect of labor in the United States today. Prole (2015) follows a group of Spanish-speaking men as they casually move about an empty room discussing the way they work, how they present themselves as laborers, and their views of unionizing. Valenzuela’s newest work, The Unwaged (2017), debuts in this exhibition and looks at the contentious position of the unpaid intern in the contemporary workplace. The video will be a compilation of interviews with people who have worked for free with the promise of a career-building opportunity. The Unwaged makes a connection between personal endurance and surviving the stress of what the artist calls “capital oppression.” As an immigrant to the U.S., Valenzuela constructs his stories from autobiographical threads and broadens these moments to embrace larger fields of experience through his skill at interviewing his subjects. His videos come to life through a range of cinematographic techniques that lend his films a dual sense of formality and intimacy. Ultimately, Valenzuela’s work reflects on the potential and the challenge of the individual acting within the socio-political arena.
Organized by Portland Art Museum and curated by Sara Krajewski, The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.