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Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa (b1978) is a performance and visual artist whose work draws on disparate sources of inspiration. Growing up during the Guatemalan civil war was certainly an influence, but Ramírez-Figueroa is widely travelled and has studied and worked abroad, including in Vancouver, Chicago, Maastricht and Weimar. It was during his time spent in Weimar, lonely and unable to communicate with those around him, that he watched a large amount of YouTube videos, which indirectly spawned Babylonian Fantasy, four gold geometric shapes made from polystyrene and resin, which seem to wriggle and metamorphose as you watch them. Filling the first gallery space at Gasworks, they both intrigue and repel.
The second room in the exhibition is a dark cave, in which there are eerily glowing “rocks”, some hanging and swaying slightly, so as to add to the viewer’s disorientation. In the centre, a large finger points – is it accusingly? – dotted with celestial constellations: God’s Reptilian Finger. This installation was similarly inspired by YouTube videos, conspiracy theories and The Book of Mormon, although, Ramírez-Figueroa admits, he is not sure that followers of the religion would identify with his work.
Primarily a performance artist, Ramírez-Figueroa is also working on a new commission in participation with BMW Tate Live: Performance Rooms, to produce a work exclusively for web broadcast, which will be live-streamed on Thursday 3 December from Tate’s YouTube channel and website.
Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa: God’s Reptilian Finger
25 November 2015 – 7 February 2016
Interview by ANNA McNAY
Filmed by MARTIN KENNEDY