Disappearance in Three Acts

Victor Arroyo

Disappearance in Three Acts

  • Exhibition
©Victor Arroyo

Mexican artist, Victor Arroyo lives and works in Montreal. He completed a master's degree in Film Production in 2016 followed by a doctorate in Human Sciences in 2023 from Concordia University. His work has been presented in numerous exhibitions in museums, galleries and artist-run centers in Canada, South America and the United States. He has also participated in several festivals in Europe and America.

22 February 2024 to 6 April 2024

Galerie B-312 is pleased to present, in its small room, Act of Mourning, by the artist Victor Arroyo. Being part of Disappearance in Three Acts, which also includes a short and a feature film, this video installation is the first iteration of this trilogy that took over ten years of research and work. During a visit in Michoacán, where he had not been for a long time, the artist was struck by an observation which was going to be at the origin of this work: the Mexico he knew no longer exists. In less than two decades, everything has changed.—The length of time Arroyo invests in his projects allows him to carry out genuine archival, historical and field research. A real dialogue can emerge with the community, thus giving it access to its lived experiences. For the artist, video art enables him to explore and interweave a mass of complex notions and relationships ranging from identity to place, from history to memory, playing at the same time with the aesthetic codes of film and the production of knowledge enabled by the documentary approach. Video in a gallery, with the circularity in its form of presentation, brings a different register of emotion and temporality that film in a theater does not permit. Here, the relationship between what is seen, what is told and what we believe we understand is meaningful and at once symbolic, poetic and political.—Images of extreme violence from Mexico are commonplace and strike the imagination. Criminal groups, drug cartels, local guerrillas and corrupt police are responsible for an unprecedented regime of violence, transforming several rural landscapes and forest areas into clandestine cemeteries. These sites become emblematic of the concealment of a complex political reality. Reading these landscapes raises the question of the visibility of crime. Kidnappings and extortions reveal that the body under threat, tortured and mutilated, can be a bargaining chip. Humanity disappears at the same time as the victims. Act of Mourning focuses more specifically on the wave of kidnappings and violence against women, even if the gender of the person whose story is told remains unclear. These symbolic panoramas of Mexico, which are now undermined by the violence that rages there on a daily basis, also reflect a quest to reappropriate an origin and a history. The issue of disappearance is polysemous in Victor Arroyo's work, and his approach succeeds to capture it with great sensitivity, transporting us beyond the suffering into a space where quiet contemplation of the landscape still seems possible.