Edison Peñafiel is a South Florida based artist whose work examines experiences about those on the underside of the world’s major conflicts: the migrant, the laborer, the surveilled. Clashing ideologies and the repetitive cycles of history produce the human catastrophes that his multimedia installations speak to. He draws the eye to odd angles that our world often intersects at—using sculpture, photography, animation, video, and space to create disturbing reflections of the realities we participate in and witness every day. These unnerving views break us out of the desensitized lull that an ongoing crisis creates.
Through visual references to German Expressionism and the surveillance state, Peñafiel keeps the work inside a long-term discussion about the turning gears of modernity and the alienation it continues to produce. This visual approach brims with anxiety illustrated in crooked lines, all informed by the dismal cruelties of bureaucracy, the policing of human movement, and empty rituals of labor. The hidden peril of these destructive cycles lends urgency to exploring the history of how we got here, how we perceive what is going on, and the hard truths of those who must face the darkest parts of the present.
Edison Peñafiel spent his youth in Ecuador and migrated to the United States in 2002. Since graduating from the Florida International University’s Fine Arts program in 2016, Peñafiel concentrated his practice on numerous large scale projects, site-specific, and immersive installations projects presented at The Bass Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, the Orlando Museum of Art, the Elsewhere Museum, the Contemporary Art Center New Orleans, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the USF Contemporary Art Museum, the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, Atchugarry Art Center, among others. Notable awards include: the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Florida Prize in Contemporary Art, the South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship, the Green Family Foundation, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.
Edison Peñafiel is represented by Sabrina Amrani Gallery, Madrid.