When I asked if this was weird for him, to see himself in so many different iterations, he replied, “It's weird in the sense that they feel like they're alive all the time. I walk into the studio sometimes and, especially if I just finished one, it'll be like, ‘oh fuck, who's there.’” This was my feeling, exactly.
The installation is overtly violent, but in the canned, theatrical way of professional wrestling. The artist recalled to me how he would wrestle with his cousins when he was young -- “What's really interesting to me is this embrace that happens within wrestling, where you want to hurt them but you don't really want to hurt them -- it's really fascinating to me, this negotiation of how far you want to go, and how much you care for the person that you are up against.” The spectacle of pro-wrestling and the innate homo-eroticism, combined with a blatant homophobia within the audience, was also a point of curiosity: “It's really interesting to see these dudes cheer and go crazy over these oiled-up men who are doing these things that are very sexy and macho with these very sexual gestures.”
Professional wrestling, it would seem, appeals to that innate homo-erotic tension that lies just beneath the surface of all male relationships -- a kind of admiration, envy, and projection that is intrinsically connected to sexuality and prowess, but dances along the border, never breaking through the barrier of being fully, openly homosexual in nature. And yet. Flores and I, as is probably the case with many American men, shared the fact that, as young boys, the men in our family would stage wrestling matches in imitation of the professional wrestling that was popular in the late 90s, via ‘WWF.’ “Do you remember Triple H in the beginning?” Flores asked me when we were discussing famous wrestlers we remembered, “When he was this very gallant gentleman? So, like that character is very much when I'm interested in: this juxtaposition of cordial presentation and then it's also very sexual.”