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It Doesn't Stop at Images

Pablo Lerma researches the concept of masculinity, and investigates the lack of representation of gay men and queer community throughout the history of photography. He often focuses on vernacular, archival, and amateur imagery of the twentieth century, such as family pictures and snapshots. Thus, for It Doesn't Stop at Images (2020-ongoing) the artist explores the ILHIA LGBTI Heritage, Amsterdam collection’s magazines from between the 70s and the 90s. He looks for printed matter that is connected to the places and times that shaped his own biography.  Pablo was born in the 80s in Spain, has lived in the USA for almost seven years, and in 2019 moved to the Netherlands. He realised his identity in the 90’s, and grew up surrounded by visually stereotypical representations of gay men in mass culture. Time has passed, but those stereotypes live on. Even the archives that are dedicated to queer legacy often lack alternatives. Take family pictures for example: the genre that bridges generations, creates a sense of belonging, and shapes collective memory; gay community cannot find itself there. Lerma dedicates his practice to constructing a counter-history of gay men and masculinity. He recontextualises, re-edits, reframes ‘cliché’ images to propose new narratives.

From going outwards with archival research and larger historical context to going inwards observing intimate routines of the family of his own… Pablo Lerma throughout his practice asks questions: how and by whom have gay men been represented so far? Why do certain patterns reoccur? Is it possible to break through the heteronormative gaze? He contributes to the very much needed shift of the representation of queerness and queer family.

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