Hugo Santana is a San Antonio based artist, designer, spatial thinker and musician. He is currently pursuing a Master in Fine Arts in Sculpture and New Media from the University of Texas at San Antonio and holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juarez in Mexico. He is the founder of Chronicles of an Impossible Voyage, a digital experimental audio platform.
Hugo tactfully explores complex issues related to borders and the expectations of visibility and invisibility of labor, a subject that is both politically and culturally relevant to our time and place in history.
Tell us a little about your background and your trajectory as an artist and/or scholar.
Hugo Santana is a multidisciplinary artist who creates time-based performances, installations, videos and
sculptures. His work draws from technology , the uncanny, ideas of labor and the production of value in our contemporary capitalist world, the connection between politics and aesthetics and, by being born in Ciudad Juarez; a border city in the middle of the desert. A place with extreme social and cultural setbacks in the areas of architecture, art and music. Full of possibilities and nothingness and also full of contradictions and dualities. All of this helps Hugo create performances, lm and sculptures which unite these disparate fields into seamless emotional and conceptual artworks. He seeks new and exciting combinations of these forms that challenge their traditional relationships.
Hugo tactfully explores complex issues related to borders and the expectations of visibility and invisibility of labor, a subject that is both politically and culturally relevant to our time and place in history. He connects seemingly disparate places and things to create elaborate and subversive visual narratives by weaving fact and fiction together, he highlights the inherent beauty and absurdity of our contemporary existence. In his practice Hugo works with a process of prop making and constant iteration; exploring concepts and ideas throughout the different branches evolving from a line of thought; a Darwinian approach; documenting every part of the process; both intuitive and calculated. These processes informs and contributes to his concepts, exhausting the idea, in different mediums, materials, techniques and platforms leaving nothing to chance. His process oscillates between digital and analogue techniques from its conceptual development to its built stage, exploring emerging technologies and how they translate into local craft understanding both the potential and the limitations of each type of media.
His work triggers uninterrupted dialogues with space and history, and projects the object’s substance into
an unknown temporal dimension: what has disappeared, or never existed, lives again in a different time.
exhibiting both chaos and fragility, past and future– suggesting both the what-was and what-may-have-been. Possibility and nothingness.
In addition to teaching at UTSA, Hugo is an active videographer for the arts, working for artists and
organizations in San Antonio, El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, founder of Chronicles of an Impossible
Voyage, a digital experimental audio platform. and he works as director for Benito Greene, a project that
brings contemporary art to the border community, by exhibiting art in public spaces and promoting emerging artists. Hugo has won two year in a row the “College of Liberal and Fine Arts Annual Juried Student Exhibition” Best of Show Wai Ching Lam Art Prize at UTSA. His sculptures and films have been exhibited and screened at Mikolaiv Art Week in Ukraine; Gallery Perchee in Brooklyn, New York; Checkerboard Borders: Films of the South, curated by Masha Vlasova and Sarah Lasley; CAM Perennial, Dock Space Gallery in San Antonio , Texas; TCU Fine Arts building in Forth Worth, Texas; Collin College Art Gallery in Plano, Texas; and NLC Gallery in Universal City, Texas among others. He has been invited to speak about his work at the California State University, Sacramento. He will receive his MFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio this May 2022 and he holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez in Mexico.
What are some of your main influences?
Just to name a few Mika Rottenberg, Alix Pearlstein, Rachel Maclean, Eva and Franco Mattes and
choreographers such as Pina Bausch and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker
New Media is …….
New Media for me is way to express a lot of my ideas, monumental scale. As a sculptor sometimes is hard
and expensive to built something huge, so new media allows me to create different scenarios and
What are you working on now?
I just presented my MFA thesis exhibition titled ‘Tales from the line’, so next will be an iteration of my
exhibition combining sculpture, video and theater.
Do you have a collaborative idea that you want to get off the ground?
Yes! I want to create a play, very theatrical, with a cast and crew, kind of like Sleep No More, very interactive and change the conception of an artist showing its work on a white cube and how the audience experience it.
What is the most recent thing you’ve learned?
There’s no specific answer, I am always learning new things from my professors, peers and students, it can
be something as simple as applying linseed oil to metal to more complex things such as coding. I always
keep my mind open to new things and try them, a lot of trial and error.