Galleria d'Arte
Raffaella De Chirico

via Monte di Pietà 1A
20121 Milano

Ph +39 392 89 72 581


From 30/05/2017 To 09/09/2017

Three years on from his first solo show in Turin, the Raffaella De Chirico gallery is delighted to present the new photographic project and photobook by Alejandro Cartagena (Dominican Republic, 1977), Santa Barbara Return Jobs back to US.

During an artist residency at the Santa Barbara Museum of Arts in Santa Barbara (CA), walking the streets and exploring the web, Alejandro Cartagena asked himself just what this place represented and how this Californian “paradise” a few kilometres from Los Angeles might be perceived by an outsider.

What is Santa Barbara? A university town? The opulent home of Oprah Winfrey and other stars of Hollywood? The Soap Opera of the ‘90s that featured a very young Robin Wright? The location of the massacre by the 22-year-old Elliot Roger who shooting from a car killed seven people and who in a video on YouTube presented his so-called motivations: “I’ve been at university for two years and I’m still a virgin, I’m going to kill all the blondes I meet”?

While from the outside this small tourist town might have appeared to be a perfect escapist snapshot, a paradisiacal blend of America and the Mediterranean, behind the façade there seemed to be something disturbing, uncertain. The surface of a town may attract us with its immediate beauty; but it is only by walking through it and losing oneself within it that we can begin to peel away this surface.

In order to add layers to his description of place, Cartagena has incorporated images harvested from the Internet of other towns called Santa Barbara (in Chile, Mexico and Venezuela, images that are weaved into the narration without specific identification, challenging our perception and presumed comprehension of a place.

In such an important historical moment with the delicate political-economic equilibria between Mexico and the United States, Cartagena presents an installation of dozens of photographs, provocative and ironic, positioned in an equally irksome fashion above an enormous American flag.

Santa Barbara is Cartagena’s exploration of a narration of what can be felt only from the outside. It is a project and book about the perception of a place. It suggests that nothing is permanent and no one is safe.

Art Exhibitions Turin

Contemporary Art Exhibitions Turin
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