Luizo Vega is one of those rare people whose entire life is focused on art and creation. He imagines dreamy worlds that are as provocative as they are seductive. The result of a great deal of thought translated onto film, his work presents us with a vision of the body as a vehicle for reflecting on the artist’s place in a society that tends to limit areas of freedom.

By Stéphane Le Duc

I grew up in the small city of Cordoba, Argentina. At the young age of 13, I got involved in track and field, and as South American champion, I discovered Buenos Aires. However, an injury forced me to abandon sports for the art world, which fascinated me. I took this injury as a sign. I studied theatre, film, screenwriting and acrobatics. At 18, I began my career as a performer, mostly busking in the city’s streets.”

His contemporary vision, inspired by classical art, proved popular with his countrymen, but a performance involving an actual crucifixion drew strong negative reactions so he left South America to settle in Europe. “I went beyond a point of no return that the South American media and audiences were not prepared to accept.” His arrival in Paris proved challenging. With no money, no phone, no ability to speak French and very little English, he was easily lost among the thousands of creative people coming to the French capital. He now views this period as a new test of his determination and true motivation in pursuing the artist’s life. For one year, he focused on his work and honed his discovery of art, acrobatics and tango. He then settled in Spain and slowly began working on several theatre, opera, photography and art film projects, in part with controversial Canadian filmmaker Bruce Labruce.

From the outset, Luizo Vega has never been afraid to break taboos and push the limits of art, although the primary goal is never provocation. “My references are the classics, mythology and religion because I come from a very Catholic country that always reverts to the same archetypes. The fact I was born on December 24 may also be symbolic. I draw inspiration from masters such as Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Canova and Delacroix. I am also captivated by the work of Alejandro Jodorowsky, Vanessa Beecroft, David Lynch and, in photography, definitely Robert Mapplethorpe. I also have pop references in Andy Warhol, Grace Jones and Madonna, who was the instigator of the film I’m currently working on, Material Boy.”

As an artist, Vega uses movement and the ephemeral nature of the body as his medium, a constantly changing sculpture, as in his collaborative work with the artistic duo Pierre et Gilles, with whom he has worked on projects with an undeniable sculptural component.

Since returning to Paris more than a year ago, Luizo Vega appears to be launching projects at a frenetic pace. “I am also completing a feature film, Santo the Obscene, which Bruce LaBruce wrote for me, and which gave me the opportunity to collaborate with the great Rossy de Palma, Almodovar’s muse. I am also happy to have finished Sangra Tango, an art film inspired by the era when Argentine tango was danced only by men, which ends with an intense battle with my partner in the film, boxing champion Staiv Gentis. This is also a reference to the Biblical story of brothers Cain and Abel. Our collaboration with designer Rick Owens was fantastic. Fashion can sometimes be an art, as in the work of Alexander McQueen and Jean-Paul Gaultier, a genuine icon.” The film has just been selected for the next fashion film festival in Paris (ASVOFF) created by Diane Pernet. This is one more step toward recognition for this artist, who should be watched closely, because his creations focus not on shock and confrontation, but the determination to build a sincere, strong body of work.