In Diego Moreno’s work there is a tense calm. A kind of mutism plagued by murmurs. Everything begins at home: a domestic scene, a birthday, a religious rite. The family space in which many of us have grown up. However, something else is shown in his photographs, something that remains hidden in our family albums.
In his images, in principle everyday, the monsters unfold their mise-en-scène. Everyday events coexist with another threshold of reality: a little girl reads a book next to a bearded being with an intriguing smile; a little girl with the face of an old woman poses in her first communion dress; a character with an eye out of its socket looks melancholically at her birthday cake. Familiar bodies mingle with other bodies, alien and excessive bodies, bodies that escape the norm.
These overflowing beings are the panzudos mercedarios, protagonists of a tradition that has been celebrated for nearly a century in the neighborhood of La Merced, in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. Diego finds these characters a means to give voice and presence to a different corporeality, while recalling the memories of a childhood in which love, isolation, and fascination for the anomalous configured a particular vision of the world.
In the popular imagination, the panzudos, with their excessive nature, their strident costumes and their unknown powers, materialize guilt and invisible sins. They are the scapegoats that carry in their deformity the mark of the evil of an entire genealogical line. In contrast, in Diego’s work these characters are familiar presences, subjects of affection and desire. They are the body with its fluids, pains and abjection, but also with its affections and potencies
Their presence rarefies the space because it shows what one wishes to hide. The home is then transformed into a fairytale scenario. A tale that, to an inattentive eye, could seem like a horror story, or a game of carnival costumes. However, whoever takes the time to look through the fearful mask of the monster will find a great fragility. He will hear the faint but constant murmur of another that does not fit into classifications and syntax, that overflows modes of social and physical inscription. Diego’s monsters play, they do not hide nor are they silent, they show themselves in all their monstrosity. They speak with multiple voices claiming their difference. Thus, with their ungrammatical language, they refuse to be condemned to silence.
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