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Tracey Snelling: Dulces Opens in London
Tracey Snelling, Los Cabos 2007, chromogenic print.

LONDON, ENGLAND.- Wedel Fine Art is delighted to announce its forthcoming exhibition – Tracey Snelling’s Dulces. This will be the artist’s first major UK solo exhibition. Tracey Snelling is known for her documentation and re-creations of places and environments. The documentary work takes the form of photographs of streets and buildings, whilst her recreations are scaled-down models as well as multi-media installations. The models and installations are themselves photographed and placed alongside the ‘true’ documentary photographs, teasing the viewer with real off-setting fake. Snelling’s models and installations often employ sound, video and even smell, offering a multi-sensory interpretation of her source material.

For her show Dulces (translating as ‘sweets’ or ‘candies’) Snelling will transform the gallery into an Hispanic melting pot of sweet shops and strip bars, dusty floors and soiled hotel beds, transporting the visitor to the streets of an unidentified Mexican suburb. Informed by a recent visit to Mexico, as well as living in the heavily Hispanic California, Dulces will relay Snelling’s experience and understanding of a sub-culture where the sweet lives alongside the seedy; virtue alongside vice.

The show will include a life-size recreation of a Paleta, or ice-cream cart, often used by Hispanic dealers to push drugs whilst they sell ice lollies in the glaring heat. In an upstairs room away from the main gallery Snelling will recreate a Mexican hotel room complete with over-flowing ashtray, tequila bottle and stained bed sheets – the seedy presence of American tourist and Mexican prostitute lingering in the air. The large El Mirador at the back of the gallery will include six LCD screens opening up the goings on in this Mexican hotel: real-life installation resized and bought to life. Alongside all of these will be documentary photographs of Los Cabos, and sound samples of rabid dogs barking or couples arguing will play out.

While Snelling’s work can initially appear cute, there are larger issues at play. She uses her skill as a model maker and taps into our love of dolls-houses, micro-machines and all things mini to reveal the unseen and untalked about; it deals with insiders, outsiders and the underside of people and places. By resizing, recreating and reliving her understanding of Hispanic culture Dulces is a form of social critique. However the work refuses to condone, condemn or glamorize its subject matter. Snelling merely opens the doors - playing both documenter and voyeur, relaying an uncanny feeling of both familiarity and estrangement. Furthermore, by manipulating scale and media she forces the viewer to reengage with environments from new perspectives echoing and quoting reality with her own distinct voice.

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