In the world of Gonzalo Resti’s art, models lounge with spiked horns piercing from their spines and protruding from their clothes. Human skin blisters, burns, and breaks open. Blurring the lines between CGI models, striking photography, and futuristic photoshop, Resti’s work is as mystifying as it is innovative. And yet, for all its digital interference, the human aspect never threatens to disappear, but in fact, remains in the centre of the frame. With a focus on intersectionality, this non-binary artist working in Buenos Aires is committed to making us reevaluate our understanding of our own identities.
Your art is unlike anything I’ve seen before. How do you describe it to people?
I think that as I have said before, if it had to be formal, I would describe it as constantly changing or evolving, but I prefer that those who contemplate it can draw their own conclusions based on their feelings towards it.
Each new project you work on is so different from the last. Where do you get your ideas from for new designs?
Like many people, I have been inspired a lot by artists and colleagues, but lately, I have been able to find my greatest inspiration in biology and human anatomy. This led me to experiment with new textures and leave behind what we know as clothing by turning skin and makeup into the only outfit that really matters. Lately, I have been interested in the implementation of biomaterials so, with enough research, that may be my future project.
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Who has inspired your work? 
In the beginning, artists like Eikoh Hosoe, Daido Moriyama, Arca, Holly Herndon, Anohni and many more helped to shape and find my aesthetic. But now I think that for the most part, my biggest inspirations are my artist friends and the people around me. They are always promoting my art and helping me create beautiful works. I think my biggest inspiration right now is artistic collaboration.
I get the impression that your art is majorly time-consuming to produce. How long do you spend working on each project?
I’ve had works that were very spontaneous, especially this year since we were several months without producing anything because of the pandemic. My largest works have taken approximately three to six months to complete. I don’t usually publish in magazines because I think my work is not very popular in the fashion industry, so once finished, I proceed to share it on social networks.
You’ve said before that your concept of beauty begins with identity. What is it that you mean to communicate about identity through the art you create?
I think that like my art, identity is in constant movement, evolution. We learn, we break, we change, we evolve. I see my identity as in a constant metamorphosis, and that is reflected in my work. I think what I’m trying to communicate is that identity is something that is deep inside each of us; something that we can be sure belongs to us completely, and that's why we can do what we want and feel with it.
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Intersectionality is clearly vital to you. Did cultivating this inclusive, non-conformist style of art help you to understand your own identity better?
Of course, it helped me a lot to understand my art, my identity and who I want to be from now on. Also, my art makes me rediscover myself. It’s like a constant feedback.
In the past, you’ve talked about being non-binary. Do you think this aspect of your identity is what makes you so interested in disrupting the outdated view of gender and sexuality that our culture is still modelled on?
Not currently. I think that at some point, it helped me understand some things about it, but I think the main reason was intersectionality. It helped me see everything that I did not see, understand different cultures and struggles. It taught me to fight for my rights and for all those who have no voice or access. It taught me to understand my privileges in terms of my life, society and my art.
You often describe your artwork as a process of metamorphosis for the models, which I think is a really interesting way of putting it. What does this word mean to you, and do you think your viewers can go through their own metamorphosis by looking at your art?
I don’t know if the viewers go through a metamorphosis seeing my works nor do I expect them to – it is not the idea to force anyone. But at least I hope it generates some interest and raises several questions. More than generating a metamorphosis, I hope it opens the doors or gives them space to the possibility of change.
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Despite the prosthetics, digital effects, and trans-humanism aesthetics, your work is still very much focused on physicality and the corporeal. I think it speaks to our age of Instagram filters, online identities, and plastic surgery. Is this intentional? What are your thoughts on these developments in how we alter and present our bodies?
I like to joke about my photos comparing them with Instagram filters, but the reality is that both the filters and some of my works closely dialogue with terms such as digital identity. I think we stop being simple ‘avatars’ or ‘profile pictures’ in the digital universe. I believe that digital identity is as important as our identity in the physical universe, and in many cases, I believe that it’s the main door to question who we are.
Because of your use of Photoshop and prosthetics, your models often become inhuman-looking. They remind me of a nightmare version of digital models and influencers. How do you feel about the rise of digital models? Is it something you want to embrace or distance yourself from?
More than a nightmare version, I would say that they are a dream-like version. I’m in love with the term ‘digital models.’ I see a lot of potential in digital modelling, and I think it would help a lot to normalise and develop a stronger awareness in terms of digital identity. I think it’s already clear that a large part of our life is inhabited in the digital universe.
Your art can be unsettling to look at: models are often covered in bodily fluids and distorted beyond recognition. Their bodies mutate and open up. Is your aim to make people feel uncomfortable? Is there a specific emotion you want to elicit from the viewer?
I understand that many times you can feel uncomfortable experiencing my art, but the main idea is that they begin to naturalise it. Not everything is as they teach us, and limiting ourselves is something to which they have us unfortunately used to. You tell me that the ‘bodies mutate and open up’; well, I hope that this also happens in the minds of viewers. Or at least the second thing.
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