Onze rubriek ‘Onderzoeker van de maand’ biedt elke maand een kleine inkijk in het leven van een (PXL-)onderzoeker. Deze maand in English en een beetje spooky: een Mexicaanse collega die ons inwijdt in de wereld van de fetisj. Let’s give the floor to Sebastián González de Gortari, kunstenaar en onderzoeker binnen het expertisecentrum PXL/UHasselt-MAD-Research.
Name: Sebastián González de Gortari
Age: 37 years old
Marital status? Children? ? I am married to Anina and have two beautiful children, Alvaro and Olivia, who was just born this August.
Fine arts with a constant focus on sculpture, writing and performance. The intersections of art with anthropology, magic and psychoanalysis.
Art is the tool I use for exploring occult and animistic ways of looking at the world and the self, and how these notions blur the line between dichotomies such as rational/magical, objective/subjective, western and non-western. I am fascinated by the way our actions, the richness of the material world, can intersect with that other world of ideas, spirits, forces and symbols.
For my PhD research at the MANUFrACTURE research group, I have been focusing on the concept of the fetish, the discourses around it, and the history of such discourses. Alongside this theoretical frame I have developed a visual language that uses heterogeneity, fragmentation, bodily remains, substitutes, nets and veils, holes and gaps to express the living and disturbing character of fetishes.
It is an assembly of trinkets and amulets, of the trash stratum of history, the waste materials of spiritual processes. The objects and situations I have produced are a deliberate attempt to blur the lines between taxonomic categories of objects such as functional (ritual) objects and contemplative ones, traps and veils, weapons and jewelry, lingerie and altars.
This confusion and shiftiness mirrors the same instability in categorization found in the ever growing collection of objects that have been historically denounced as fetishes by one theoretical orthodoxy or another. To further embrace that slipperiness through my artistic practice, I freely quote from all different registers (ethnographic fetishes, economic fetishes, sexual fetishes).
Your passion(s): Having weird dreams and being able to remember them. Getting my hands dirty in the studio. Reading books that remake the world for me.
Who is your hero (and why)? Without doubt, Anina, my wife. Without our conversations and her insight, without her constant support and belief in me, I wouldn’t get very far.
Your favourite dish at PXL-Catering? Hard to choose. I just love the catering itself. I feel spoiled in just the right way whenever I am there. We are very lucky to have such delicious and fresh food!