Dino Dinco at Project One Gallery
251 Rhode Island St.
San Francisco, CA, 94013
Dino Dinco’s exhibition “she told dino she’d been thinking about sex DINO DINCO: FILM, PHOTOGRAPHY & OBJECTS” at Project One Gallery in San Francisco presented works from several different series.
In discussing influences Dinco mentions Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Stephen Prina and Vaginal Davis. Dinco uses at times a minimalist, conceptual aesthetic and at others an arms-length vérité to point directly to subject matter as well as sources. All the candy in the world can't replace you, 2009 does not mention Gonzalez-Torres by name but any follower of the contemporary art world of the last decades would identify--in a roughly taped off gold painted outline that traverses two walls and the floor, forming a rough triangle in the corner of the room--a reference to Gonzalez-Torres’ piles of candy work, often corner pieces, such as Untitled (Public Opinion), 1991. This work and Gonzalez-Torres’ smaller candy pieces (where the weight of hard candy equals the weight of a man) are often upheld as iconic mementos of loss as chronicled by the first generation devastated by AIDS. Gonzalez-Torres’ candy piles were to be diminished by the viewer and in turn replenished by the gallerist, curator or collector. Significantly Dino’s piece has no candy in it; there is nothing except for an outline--like the chalk left after the murder victim has been taken away. Through the piece and its title, Dinco laments the loss of the talent, of the man, more than the loss of the art objects Gonzalez-Torres created.
Dinco’s work speaks softly in confronting the signage leading to anonymous sexual encounters, or other systems of signs and types of language that exist between friends, acquaintances and lovers. As light as his touch is, Dinco’ work is at times laugh-out-loud funny; he is a humanist versed in tragicomedy. Negotiating a Hierarchy of Risk: Blowjob, 2009 is a pair of whirring electric fans, one on a shelf above another. Upon observing that one of the fans spins without a protective cover, the viewer understands the title. Dinco’s work often has a “hook” and fortunately this bit that pulls us in, or, even, place where we might hang our hats and feel at home, is an entry point to other discussions. The two fans can function as minimalist installations of found objects or pop representations in the manner of Jeff Koons, but then the work nudges the viewer to think about the personal decision making process as it intersects with mortality and the sociological and the political and this leads to other considerations and these then multiply the layers of reference.
In one of Dinco’s sexgraffiti photographs the viewer can see a ball point pen message written over mustard yellow, enamel paint (of course--thick and flaking and chipped and dirty): “18-25 Blow Jobs @ 7 pm 1/1/08.” But this isn’t actually what the message reads because “7 pm” has been crossed out and “5:30 pm” has been added and the “1” representing the day in the date has been written over and replaced with a “3.” So, the message reads, at the time of the photo, “18 - 25 Blow Jobs @ 5:30 pm 1/3/08.” The simple immediately leads to a rabbit hole which in turn leads to routes too multifarious to easily map. In addition, as with much of Dinco’s work, the element of time is introduced. How can we talk about a static work which so obviously has captured the ephemeral--a work which suggests it just as easily could have been something different?
The press release describes another photo series: “The large-format images from Elysian Park reveal quiet landscape portraits shot on the cruising trails that intertwine alongside Dodger Stadium and the Los Angeles Police Department Training Academy.” Messages are carved into trees. An abundance of garbage clutters the underbrush--prophylactics and their wrappers abound.
Dinco’s short 2008 film El Abuelo is included in the exhibition. Joe Jiménez, a writer and artist from Texas, is the subject of the film. He is described on La Colectiva’s Website, the Site of an arts organization to which he belongs, as a writer and photographer devoted to community education and raising matas with interests including tattoos, massage, paño arte, lowrider bikes, and xoloitzcuintlis. The imagery of the film sticks, particularly that of Jiménez ironing. Jiménez’s 1983 poem “El Abuelo” is read over Dinco’s images. Dinco explains that El Abuelo is excerpted from the larger text / performance piece “Homeboy Beautiful (and Other Things I’ve Nearly Forgotten But Am Throwing Punches Not to Forget)” by Joe Jiménez.
The work The boyfriend chooses phone over DH ("The End"), 2009 presents a reproduction of an email message, ostensibly to Dinco, which reads in the subject heading “We were in the middle of sex” and in the body “when you texted my boyfriend last night from Paris for no reason. Thanks for interrupting.” It makes Dinco’s focus on communication explicit.
Another work which brings to mind Gonzalez-Torres and his interest in the double is Sweat collected by hand from a lover's body over an extended period of time, 2009 which is described in the title listing as “a pair of 2-dram glass vials, sweat.”
Dinco is a multi-talented, multi-disciplinary artist whose immersion in his projects combined with a clear critical eye make his facility look natural. You can pay attention to Dinco now, or later--he will be around.