In Time Is An Ocean But It Ends At The Shore, Pacifico continues his exploration into queer melancholy, desire and loss. Playing with representations of masculinity, he fragments, reveals and conceals the pages of vintage gay erotica. Expanding on his previous work, Pacifico creates intricate, formal presentations of large scale photographs exploring the multiple lives of a printed image. Nature features heavily in the work, acting as a silent witness to the bodies that once occupied magazine centerfolds.
Growing up Silano’s parents owned and operated an adult novelty store. Despite being in a business that sold desire and sexuality, his family rarely spoke of his uncle, a gay man who passed away from complications of HIV. This erasure, his unique upbringing and a fascination with mass imagery is the catalyst for his practice.
Pacifico’s work encourages quiet meditations on our evolving relationship to history. The magazine archives he pinpoints were published between the Stonewall riots of 1969 and the peak of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. By engaging the viewer in the act of looking not unlike the publications’ original consumer, looking takes on a new meaning as we are invited to shift our point of view. It becomes a reparative act where desire and loss is inextricable.
In an age where physical magazines are increasingly out of favor and archives left to deteriorate, Pacifico highlights the cultural loss of these items. Formal elements such as the magazine’s spine or the folds of a corner seduce the viewer while interrupting the continuity of discrete images. An errant staple or the shadow of a figure become engrossing when rendered at forty-by-fifty inches, as the viewer is lulled into a meditative study of materiality, color and textures.
The absence of explicitness in Pacifico’s work also subverts the source material. The elusiveness of this imagery heightens the desire for a narrative, inducing a longing for details which can never be found. The periphery is often amplified in the work; an ocean collides with the negative space of the page, a swimming pool frames the corner of a shot or an expanse of rocks surround the body. Sometimes the gaze emerges from the subtle in-between space of the magazine arrangements, often it is thwarted as we are left as voyeurs in the flat planes of the media.
Tangible effects were left by the AIDS crisis which are still present today. The formal control Pacifico wields is a way in anchoring this past to the contemporaneous moment, inviting us to ponder the life of a photograph.