Omar Velázquez and Jonathan Torres’s exhibition, “Damnation,” opened at El Kilómetro on November 25, 2022. The gallery is located at 802 Roberto H. Todd Avenue (Stop 18) in Santurce, Puerto Rico.
Description: Damnation is an eschatological concept about human beings and the universe that is associated with damnation, perdition, and ruin. For some time now (6 years to be exact) artists Jonathan Torres and Omar Velázquez in a mutual conversation delineated “we are not utopian artists, we are apocalyptic.”
Coincidentally, said conversation between artists occurred a year before the anniversary of the disastrous passage of Hurricane Maria through Puerto Rico, and a series of subsequent social and atmospheric events that faded the face with which Puerto Rico used to export itself to the world. During this period, our social landscape has changed dramatically, and with it, the spirit of contingency.
Omar Velázquez and Jonathan Torres articulate a discourse that can clearly be interpreted as pessimism; however, as Uruguayan writer Juan Carlos Onetti used to say, “it is not that I am pessimistic, I am optimistic because I know that everything could be better.” Within this scenario, the artists present us with a series of masterful views of cruise ships or churches on fire, desolate landscapes full of birds of prey that seem to watch us perish in the attempt to stay alive; as metaphors for what occurred through the aforementioned events, these images could be interpreted as an ode to misery-porn [la pornomiseria].
To conclude, Damnation is a daring and critical look that truly dusts off and removes the make-up from our reality, demystifying them forever.
[Shown above: Omar Velázquez’s “La piedad del pelícano” 2022, oil and acrylic on canvas, 64” x 72”.]