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Juan Antonio Olivares (*1988 in Bayamón, Puerto Rico; lives in New York)

Juan Antonio Olivares’ video works are based on the construction of a precise visuality. Together with their associated soundtracks, they enable reflections on memories and loss as well as questions of conditions of identity. The protagonist of his 10-minute, predominantly black-and-white animation ‘Moléculas’ from 2017, is a teddy bear. He tells of his first memory, the relationship with his mother, the loss of her and the great cycle of life and death before, in the last shot, he explosively dissolves into his individual fluffy parts. The video is tragic and grotesque at the same time. The bear functions as a (standardised) token of emotion, which Olivares nevertheless knows how to pool with his image settings. They alternate in the continuous flow of the soundtrack between carefully constructed views of the bear in a therapist’s room, his abstract memory images, an intrusion into his visceral parts and plan views of constellations ranging from large to cosmic. In this way, Olivares composes a fluid and exciting relationship, so to speak, between empathic identification and digital construction, (more painful) closeness and distance, that stands out from the everyday that can be taken for granted.

Olivares’ works have been presented by numerous galleries and museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art in Greenwich Village (New York), USA and the Jan Mot in Brussels, Belgium.