As Pacifico Silano prepares for his upcoming solo exhibition, After Silence, at Stellar Projects; we caught up with him to discuss his influences, tattoos and what drives his work.
all images courtesy of Pacifico Silano
How did you choose the name of the show?
After Silence is inspired by the adopted Act Up slogan, Silence = Death. [The Silence=Death Project, most known for their iconic political poster, was the work of a six-person collective in New York City: Avram Finkelstein, Brian Howard, Oliver Johnston, Charles Kreloff, Chris Lione, and Jorge Soccarás] I wanted an interesting way to reference that and it somehow felt right.
As I am working with tear sheets and found images, I like looking at the past through the lens of today.
Yes, you often work with tear sheets how does that play with emotional quality of the work?
I am always discussing some type of queer melancholy in my work. The tear sheets make me think of not only the images, but also who was the intended audience. I think of that man looking at that porn in that era.
What do you want people to know about the show?
It’s a visual exploration through emotional and physical loss. Then again, as it’s photography, the audience can imbue their own ideas onto the work.
If there is a soundtrack to After Silence, what would need to be on it?
Ummm… I’m thinking of a Connie Francis song because of the melancholy tone masked under a cheerful veneer.
No, maybe Lana del Rey’s Honeymoon because it has a slow burn. There are more layers that reveal themselves as you listen.
Do you long to live in the mid-to-late 80s?
Not at all. I think living through the Regan presidency had to be a special kind of hell. Thankfully, I was too young to remember any of it. The 1970s I could definitely get into. Jack Pierson once said at a talk that most generations want to live in the era that they just missed out on. I find that to have some truth to it.
When I was thinking about After Silence, I was thinking about the individuals that are missing because of the A.I.D.S. epidemic and also about the missing audience and creators of culture and art.
Yes, I think about my uncle that died and all of the countless lgbtq role models that we lost. There is an entire generation just completely wiped away. I have a hard time moving on from that. I think about what a privilege it is that my creative peers and I will get the chance to become mentors.
Another thing that brought to mind when viewing your work is about just missing the moment or accidently finding a moment. Jeff Burton always seems to capture that proxy to porn and I think the both of you have something in common.
Thank you. There are always moments of just missing something or someone in my work. This is also why I like found images. I get to decide what I reveal to the viewer.
I have a wild relationship to porn. My parents ran a porn store and they kept it during my teen years and even while they were divorcing. That was the family business and I photographed that time for my undergraduate thesis.
How many tattoos do you have?
I honestly don’t know. I’ve lost count, but I do know that the largest is my Tom of Finland leg sleeve. It goes from my ankle to my ass cheek and it includes 14 dicks.