2013 Winners - Runner-up: Pacifico Silano
Pacifico Silano’s project Male Fantasy Icon appropriates images of Al Parker, a famous gay porn star in the 1970s. Sometimes Silano works with magazine pages with their edges turned down or staple bindings showing, and other times with pages that are torn or crumpled or with parts of the image removed. In doing so, he examines not only Parker’s persona, but also confronts his own consumption of the imagery (and presumably the viewers’ as well). The torn and marked magazines are both public cultural objects and something consumed in private, occupying the personal imagination. Silano consistently highlights not only Parker’s physicality, but also the materiality of the medium, reminding us that these images circulated in print and on VHS. The series ruminates on and conflates sexuality and the materiality of print in an obsessive manner, one that mimics the repetitive feeling of both fantasy and porn itself. The images have a definitive vintage feel. Parker’s Tom Selleck–esque moustache and the seemingly endless array of tiny shorts in which he appears locate him in the pre-internet era and also reflect something of Silano’s personal obsessions. They also recall a time when sexuality was more carefree, before the AIDS epidemic that later took Parker’s life and that of a generation of his gay male peers. Without worrying about the dangers of AIDS, Parker and his companions frolic with abandon and, in this respect, appear almost innocent despite their occupation. Silano was born during the AIDS crisis and also lost an uncle to the disease. From this perspective, the work becomes even more personal as he again fuses the fantasy of an earlier moment in the culture and a poignant recollection of what has been lost—all of which remains intertwined with sexuality and materiality, desire and loss, the personal and the collective.
Pacifico Silano received a BFA from the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design and an MFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts, New York. He has exhibited internationally, including group shows at the Bronx Museum; Context Art Fair, Miami; Oude Kerk, Amsterdam; and ClampArt, New York. Awards given to Silano include the 2012 Individual Photographer’s Fellowship from the Aaron Siskind Foundation and First Prize at the Pride Photo Awards in Amsterdam.