Curated by Raul Zamundio
Whitebox Art Center is pleased to present the solo exhibition of Romulo Sans titled Romulo Sans: Between Heaven and Hell. Like the Catholic posthumous, unpurified state of the soul in a nether region between salvation and damnation, the exhibition explores the liminal space of other dichotomies including sacred/profane, religiosity/secularism, orthodoxy/heterodoxy, dominant/subaltern, individual/collective, spirit/corporeality, and East/West.
Whereas in previous works Sans created full scale narrative sagas that ran the gamut of gritty urban New York street culture to impeccably staged mise-en-scenes that converge haute couture with memento mori, Romulo Sans: Between Heaven and Hell is more topical by indirectly citing events including social violence, Religious authoritarianism, political corruption, corporate greed, media collusion, and consumerism. Exemplifying this includes a work of what appears to be a runway model casually smoking a cigarette with a blue recycling bag over her head filled with environmentally toxic products. Is this some avant-garde fashion accessory or a poignant political work about the complacency of culture and the culture of complacency? In another work, the word Caliphate is written in typography used in Coca-Cola advertisements. On the one hand, the work mines Western Islamophobia and its perception of terror groups of wanting to become ubiquitous and inevitably corporatized. On the other hand, it also alludes to shadow economies that support religious and political violence evinced, for instance, in wealthy Middle Eastern donors who purportedly fund fundamentalist militants while investing in European and American companies.