Photography

Yvonne Venegas explores the complicated social structures of Mexico's upper class

October 20, 2017

Named after the municipality in Nuevo León, part of the Monterrey Metropolitan area in Mexico, Yvonne VenegasSan Pedro Garza Garcia focuses on a select group of residents who enjoy the trappings of an upper class life. That San Pedro Garza Garcia with a population of 150,000 has the highest income per capita in all of Latin America is not a coincidence for Venegas who has long captured the distinct demarcations of Mexico’s social class differences through the lens of her camera. In San Pedro the social structure is more complicated than the rest of Mexico with layers of hierarchy operating within an already hierarchical system. The result is a unique mircocosm where appearances are cherished.

Over the years, Venegas has a developed a specific visual language through her photographs which thrive on moments of fleeting imperfection. She captures her subjects in flux, scenes that reveal artifice, and various states of becoming. Venegas balances beauty and composition with ideas of the absurd. She finds substance beneath layers of pretense and turns a critical gaze toward the superficial. It should be noted that Venegas does not focus on the unsavoriness of her subjects rather she unconvers moments of tangible realness and underscores the human condition.

With this body of work Venegas explores ideas of performativity, her camera offering the untouchable residents of San Pedra Garza Garcia an opportunity to perform for a public outside of the city’s well guarded borders. The notion of an inside versus an outside world is important to Venegas for many reasons in light of Mexico’s ongoing predicament with drug cartels and the country’s quest for power and progress. In 2008, at the height of Mexico’s drug violence and social instability, San Pedro Garza Garcia was one of the few cities that was able to protect itself from outside crime. Balancing portraits, clean landscapes, architecture, lesiure activities, ceromonies, and celebrations Venegas penetrates the borders surrounding San Pedro Garza Garcia and its residents. —Shoshana Wayne Gallery