Juan Sebastián Peláez

Installation view of "Ewaipanoma (Rihanna)," 2016, courtesy Juan Sebastián Peláez, photo: Timo Ohler

* 1982 in Medellín, CO, lives and works in Bogotá

Ewaipanoma (Rihanna) is the latest work in Juan Sebastián Peláez’ series featuring upright, oversize photo-cutouts of headless human bodies—captured in athletic positions, sporting bikini swimwear, or posing in the limelight in glitzy, bling gowns—with faces surreally integrated into their chests. Both the bodies and faces are sourced from pop queens and soccer stars from the Caribbean or Latin America. A giant Rihanna welcomes visitors here in the courtyard. While hinting at the sometimes monstrous body modifications typical of celebrity culture, these works also reference longstanding projections of otherness. For these works Peláez was inspired by drawings from sixteenth-century explorers of the New World (like Sir Walter Raleigh), who on returning home described having encountered so-called “Blemmyae,” headless natives with faces on their upper, naked bodies.

List of works

Installation view of Ewaipanoma (Rihanna), 2016, courtesy Juan Sebastián Peláez, photo: Timo Ohler
Ewaipanoma (Rihanna), 2016

Mixed media
Courtesy Juan Sebastián Peláez
Commissioned and produced by Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art
Thanks to Botschaft der Republik Kolumbien, Berlin