Joseph Rodriguez – Flesh Life: Sex in Mexico City
through 10 June 2023 // Galerie Bene Taschen, Cologne
Bene Taschen Gallery is pleased to present the new solo exhibition Flesh Life: Sex in Mexico City by Joseph Rodriguez. In Flesh Life, Rodriguez documents life in Mexico City in 1997, including the district of La Merced, which has one of the highest crime rates in the city.
These black and white works depict residents who, on the one hand, have deep roots in the Catholic faith and, on the other hand, often go in search of sexual adventures. Families, sex workers and trans* sex workers are portrayed in contrasting scenes in the exhibited silver gelatin prints. A sex worker getting ready for her next job by strikingly altering her appearance while a crucifix hangs on the wall in the background. The fusion of living out erotic desires and devotion to spirituality is omnipresent in Mexico City. Rodriguez delves into the hidden corners of this metropolis and captures intimate moments that, despite the often difficult circumstances of life, retain their dignity and beauty.
Rodriguez describes himself as a humanist. His attentive and respectful attitude towards the people and places he photographs enables him to look behind their facades. The subjects trust him, and allow a glimpse into their lives, far removed from events taking place in public. Flesh Life makes visible the deep basic human needs for love, solidarity and closeness that lie behind the snapshots.
Born in New York City, Joseph Rodriguez graduated in 1985 from the International Center of Photography in New York with a degree in photography. He has worked as a documentary photographer for four decades and has contributed to various publications such as the New York Times and Washington Post. Rodriguez’s work has been published in ten monographs and is represented in collections such as LACMA, Los Angeles, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C., ALBERTINA, Vienna and Museum Ludwig, Cologne.
The exhibition Flesh Life presents a selection of photographs from the book published in 2006 under the same title.