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Disco rayado - John Chauca Laurente (Galería Yvonne Sanguineti)

Written by Arion on Saturday, August 31 2013 and posted in Blog
Kaboom (2010)
Directed by Gregg Araki 
Disco rayado - John Chauca Laurente (Galería Yvonne Sanguineti)

Gregg Araki's films share a special signature. As a filmmaker, his interest towards certain themes are aptly exploited in different and peculiar ways. In "Mysterious Skin" we witness the alien abduction fantasy embraced by one of the protagonists, in "Nowhere" an alien invasion serves both as a metaphor and as in incursion into the real. In Kaboom, Araki plays again with that which surpasses normal humanity, redefining it in the process.

We find ourselves immersed in a story about college, young men and women, mysterious murders, secret societies and conspiracy theories that, somehow, mingle together with a surreal sensitivity. The first scene takes us to Smith's mind, an 18-year-old student… or, more exactly, to a dream he has been having frequently. After that he starts masturbating while fantasizing with his roommate Thor, a blonde surfer with perfect abs. Smith, however, doesn't want to be labeled… he considers himself neither gay nor bisexual. He has indeed sexual encounters with boys and girls, but his best friend Stella is convinced that he leans more towards guys. Stella is a lesbian that finds conflict in a risky relationship with a girl that has, to put it mildly, supernatural abilities.

At the same time, Smith finds out that a girl from college, one that appears in his dreams, has been murdered by men in black disguised with animal masks. Except he cannot be sure if he's imagining things because of the hallucinogen drugs he takes or simply because he's becoming paranoid and losing his mind in the process. It's college and there are drugs and alcohol everywhere; here actually one of Araki's favorite actors, James Duval, interprets the typical school "stoner", who pretty much sums up Stella's assertion: "college is just an intermission between high school and the rest of your life. Four years of having sex, making stupid mistakes and experiencing stuff".

When Stella has sex with her girlfriend there is a special luminosity that announces a supernatural element… and when Smith agrees to engage in sexual intercourse with a lighthearted girl named London he also experiences a weird luminescence which he attributes to drugs. In the same way he cannot define himself as homosexual or bisexual, he is also constantly escaping out of normal consciousness, which is made clear with the dream at the beginning of the film. Psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan would correlate the privileged mode in which we capture our own selves through narcissistic investment with the type of knowledge based on the 'illusion of consciousness' in which it is implied that the entire reality could become accessible to the mind, turned inside-out, and as a result, it could be illuminated and made transparent. Kaboom deals closely with this illusion of consciousness; it explores the mindset of Smith taking him constantly to different extremes of realities.
Disco rayado - John Chauca Laurente (Galería Yvonne Sanguineti)
my drawing: from pencils to inks /
mi dibujo: del lápiz a la tinta

This illusion, however, is insufficient if Smith is to find his place in the world, and he experiences its limitation when he confronts the phenomenon of the strange -with all its connotations, the stranger, the alien, the unfamiliar- here exemplified by the animal mask men that start chasing him; it doesn't matter if they are after him or if he's only imagining it, but the important thing is that he experiences fear (and thanks to the director's skills, we also experience the suspense of the persecutions); this seriously puts into question the very possibility of auto-transparency or auto-knowledge for Smith.

Perhaps this is all linked with Smith's lack of a parental figure, as Lacanian theory would tell us it is the nom de pere or name of the father that inscribes the subject into the symbolic order. Smith has a loving mother, but he has never met his father who was conveniently reported dead in a car accident just before he was born. Without the name of the father, without the castration which takes place when the father removes any possibility of the mother having the phallus, it's clear that the individual, in this case Smith, would always be out of place or at least displaced from society. In a world ruled by heterosexual normativity, Smith has no clear space or location, and in the same way sexuality means for him to wander around aimlessly, he also starts slipping into an uncomfortable fissure that brings forth elements of reality and also from his personal oneiric world.

I think no other director could have pulled this off. Kaboom succeeds in forcing us, the viewers, to reevaluate what we think, to defy established knowledge. When Smith finds out the truth behind the murders and the truth behind his father's death, he will no longer be able to see the world as he used to. But then again doesn't the same thing happen to us, as we grow up?
Disco rayado - John Chauca Laurente (Galería Yvonne Sanguineti)

John Chauca Laurente es un artista de reconocida trayectoria que ha logrado sorprender al público una y otra vez. Y esta es una difícil tarea, que muy pocos logran cumplir cabalmente. Porque además del buen arte hace falta también una buena propuesta artística, y finalmente hace falta romper un poco los moldes, ir más allá de la norma establecida, confiar en que el don de la originalidad elevará de categoría a la obra. Por suerte, John Chauca ha logrado todo esto, y la evidencia se encuentra sobre todo en sus muestras individuales en la Galería Yvonne Sanguineti (“Al fondo… ¿hay sitio?” y “Fantasías animadas de ayer y hoy”).

En esta ocasión, la sala barranquina presenta “Disco rayado”, un magnífico ejercicio creativo que se apoya por partes iguales en la ironía, en el homenaje a la cultura pop y en el redescubrimiento de los placeres analógicos que, en la actualidad, han sido reemplazados por la frialdad de lo digital. 
Disco rayado - John Chauca Laurente (Galería Yvonne Sanguineti)

Los cuadros o bien presentan formas circulares o se aprovechan de la circunferencia para delimitar el tema visual central; y claro, también tenemos cuadros que son discos que se han convertido en los lienzos que utiliza el artista. Y como una codiciada colección discográfica, todas estas imágenes están ordenadas con sumo cuidado en los muros de la Galería Yvonne Sanguineti. Se trata de una colección que todos querrían tener, al menos a esa conclusión llegué mientras conversaba con mi gran amigo Andreé Ferro, quien me acompañó en esta ocasión; por supuesto, todos los que asistieron a la inauguración quedaron gratamente impresionados: Marcos Palacios, Paola Tejada, Hugo Salazar, Roberto Cores, Akira Chinen, etc.

Es curioso pero a veces me paso una o dos semanas enteras sin comentar ninguna de las muestras a las que he asistido. Y no es por pereza. Simplemente, lo que veo a menudo en diversas galerías limeñas me parece insustancial y de escaso o nulo valor. Esta semana, en cambio, he quedado fascinado con dos exposiciones de primer nivel: la de Hugo Salazar y la de John Chauca. 
Disco rayado - John Chauca Laurente (Galería Yvonne Sanguineti)

Siempre es refrescante observar cómo John aborda el tema de la pintura, y cómo de algún modo establece un juego dialógico con el espectador, en una suerte de transfusión visual que nos sorprende y a la vez nos deja ensimismados. Ahí está el Capitán América (más cercano a la actual versión de la línea Ultimate que al héroe de la década del 30) despojado de su escudo verdadero y portando, en su lugar, una orgullosa escarapela. O a Marilyn Monroe (quizás uno de los más preciados fetiches de John) enterrada entre dos carnosos labios que prometen un apasionado beso.

Basta leer el texto de John Chauca para comprender su nostalgia por los discos de vinilo, y así hayamos vivido en el auge de la época de los tocadiscos o hayamos nacido en la era del mp3, hay algo en la propuesta de John que resuena en nuestro interior. Porque la música, como los latidos del corazón, no puede parar y porque la pasión por el arte debe seguir y seguir… y seguir… como un disco rayado.

Arcadio Bolaños

Originally Published at


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About the Author - Arion

Arion, who is either from Chile or New York (it’s not really clear) writes a blog that the Outhouse steals on a regular basis.  Arion is by far the nicest of all the staff writers and the most well behaved only having been banned from one country.  One thing we really appreciate about Aroin is that he writes his reviews in English and Spanish and we hope someday he’ll translate this blurb for us.  We’re not so good at languages, just look at how well we write in English if you need proof.  You should bookmark Arion’s blog - – and actually look at it.  There will be a quiz at the end of every month.


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