Through sculpture, photography, and video, Christopher Aque’s work explores the connections of power structures and dynamics to notions of desire, intimacy, vulnerability, and sexuality. He has long used UV-C lights in his practice; in their intended usage, these lights cleanse air and equipment in hospitals and laboratories by emitting harsh light destructive to biological matter. When incorporated into Aque’s works, the lights are remotely activated to sanitize their surroundings only in the absence of viewers, but retain a menacing quality when deactivated, leaving only a faint stringent scent as proof of their hidden operations.
This presence is maintained in Aque’s photographs – cyanotypes and bichromate prints – which are exposed using these same UV-C lights. Their subject matter varies: a left-behind shirt in a former cruising ground earmarked for renovation, the skyscrapers of New York’s “Billionaire’s Row” towering above topless sunbathers in Central Park, a government-owned truck labeled “Sanitation” participating in a Pride parade, a verdant sidewalk planter in a gentrifying neighborhood adorned with the local police department logo. Made visible by the harsh sanitizing lights, these images reveal subtle intersections of power dynamics and desire.
Christopher Aque (*1987, Chicago) lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include Sweetwater, Berlin (2018) and Regards, Chicago (2018); his work has also recently been shown at Super Dakota, Brussels (2020); Kate Werble Gallery, New York (2019); Abrons Arts Center, New York (2018); and SculptureCenter, New York (2016). Aque was a participant at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, Maine, US in 2012 and received an MFA from Hunter College, New York in 2016.