Portraying the Epidemic? Cultural Reflections of AIDS in López Lage’s “Costuras del Corazón”

By Jodie Parys.

Published by The International Journal of the Humanities: Annual Review

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 11, 2016 $US5.00

This article focuses specifically on visual representations of the HIV-positive body in Spanish America and how the metaphors and taboos about the disease are translated visually. I analyze the work of one artist, Fernando López Lage (Uruguay), to provide a glimpse into the visual symbolization of the disease in Spanish America and to posit questions for future research in this area. I examine how the HIV-positive body has been depicted in López Lage’s work and question the ways that the predominant social stigmas and metaphorical language surrounding AIDS have been translated visually. Several questions inform my study, including: How does the medium affect the message? Does the silence inherent in visual imagery help to perpetuate or destroy the metaphors and stereotypes that predominate in written representation? How are those metaphors converted into images—through literal or figurative representational techniques? These and other questions form the foundation of my analysis of a collection of six paintings by López Lage, entitled “Costuras del Corazón,” which were produced between the years of 1990–1996.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Fernando López Lage, Painting, Latin America, Uruguay

The International Journal of the Humanities: Annual Review, Volume 14, pp.1-11. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 11, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 903.939KB)).

Dr. Jodie Parys

Professor, Department of Languages and Literatures, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wisconsin, USA