Ricardo Estanislao Zulueta

Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art

The black and white photographs of Ricardo Estanislao Zulueta are bizarre staged rituals of human survival. His series called “Basement Therapy,” 1988, consists of identical-sized images, each one featuring two figures in a claustrophobic, nightmarish space. The figures are anonymous (though sometimes labeled with numbers or signs) and are often dressed as twins, so that they seem to share their identities. Drawing on a variety of sources including Surrealism, science fiction, and Dada, Zulueta produces stark, striking images that oscillate between morbidity and absurdity, and that forcefully tap into subconscious fears and memories. The bleakness of his vision is evident in the predominant themes of suffocation, denial of individual identity, and personal entrapment. His black mats close in tightly on the pictures, bringing the work into even more concentrated focus.

Although Zulueta takes

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