Edison Peñafiel: Camposcuro
Captured in black-and-white across open fields, forests, and rural landscapes, Edison Peñafiel’s Camposcuro offers surreal and poetic meditations on the ever-present nature of surveillance during our time. The multi-channel video piece follows a singular, anonymous figure whose face is always turned away from the camera; this figure—a woman in a flowing skirt—stands, walks, runs, and rides a bicycle across these sceneries. There are questions that linger in the experience of this piece as to this person’s identity, her relationship to these landscapes, and the reasons why the camera might be following. The camera lingers on this figure despite her slow movements or moments of inaction, and there is an ominous quality to the way in which she is watched, recorded, and captured as an image. The soundscape of this piece reinforces a sense of unease; its languorous tones steadily rise and fall, indicative of impending action that never quite crests or comes to fruition. The solitary figure of Camposcuro retains her anonymity in the face of continuous surveillance, perhaps unaware that she is the subject of the camera’s gaze; a commentary, perhaps, about on how we all exist within countless images—CCTV feeds, the backgrounds of strangers’ photos, and others—over which we lack control. Camposcuro focuses in on the potentially dark terrains of our highly mediatized society.
In this presentation of Camposcuro, the piece takes on a totemic form, presented on three, wall-mounted monitors stacked vertically on one wall. The effect is a frontal sensory experience that visually confronts its viewer.
Edison Peñafiel (b. 1985, Ecuador) is an artist based in South Florida who works across video and multi-media installation. His works have been presented at the Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans; Orlando Museum of Art, FL; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami; USF Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa; the Wolfsonian, Miami Beach, and many others. He has participated in residencies including the joint Home + Away residency between Oolite Arts, Miami Beach, FL, and Anderson Ranch, Snowmass, CO, and in 2021 he will be in residence at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation, Charlotte, NC. Peñafiel earned his BFA, summa cum laude, from Florida International University. In 2019, Peñafiel was named the winner of the 2019 Florida Prize in Contemporary Art.
Curated by Claudia Mattos.