FELT Zine #49 presents EL PELELE, the digital artist exploring realms of creation, sexuality, and the boundaries of existence between the real world and the imaginary world. Watch the interactive issue here + interview below:
Your name translates in English to “the puppet”. What about you and your work is puppet-like? What is it about puppetry that is important to you? Is your name a reference to Francisco Goya’s painting of the same name? If so, why?
EL PELELE: “I love the old idea of creating life, to play God. My work is that doll, who is my double I can manipulate at pleasure, without limitations. Goya’s painting fascited me from the moment I saw it, it is wonderful, it made me elucidate the contradiction, understand it somehow. That floating doll is pure beauty, an uncanny and joyful beauty. Goya documents a game, a carnival tradition, where they toss a hay or rag doll in the air. That ritual grabbed me with such a power. One day I decided to name one of my characters El Pelele, later I decided to bring him to life and make him my alter-ego.”
Where are you located? How has it affected your work?
I currently live in Córdoba, Argentina, but I come from a small town called Deán Funes. I’m soaked in its dryness, its prickles, its weird and plain melancholy and its dirty wind. #sadpostingonly #LOL
What were formative experiences in your arts education? What memories from your childhood and development inspired you to make art?
My mother had always favoured my creativity. My house was full of art-related books I looked through time and time again. I loved to see the penises in the Greek sculptures. I spent my time drawing and didn’t go out to play with the other kids. I’m self-taught. I hate art schools. I find inspiration in traumatic memories and nightmares.
Your work is, at times, confrontational in its sexualized depiction of the nude male form. What importance does sex play into your praxis, if at all?
Sex is energy and desire is potential energy. That energy moves us, it makes us vibrate in such a way it becomes essential for everything. The connection between homosexuality and mirrors arouses me. And I’m amused by how this world seems to be appalled by symmetry, a man kissing another man. Two similar bodies loving each other are repulsive to lots of people.
What is beautiful to you about the human body? What is not? Where is the line drawn between the two, and why?
We could say that beauty is wherever sight or any of our senses get caught. Aesthetic conventions don’t really matter, there’s no line. Beauty is where you find it.
Why is the internet important to you? What parts of it heal you and what parts harm you?
The Internet is like an amorphous, infinite dough that we build together. It’s [a] big human work, our collective dream. It amuses me so much. The weird connections with people and virtual entities make me so much good, and all the internet crap sometimes makes bad, but I love it anyway.
Who is El Pelele?
I’ll answer that with a poem:
I wake up and see what I want to see,
just what I want to see.
My new profile pic is him,
uglier than ever.
My phone is a crystal ball.
Notifications come and go.
I open them,
and open them again.
The screen turns off and I see myself,
prettier than ever.
The screen turns on
and everything’s like that dream
where I fade away
in front of the mirror.