"I come from Venezuela, which is a beautiful country. Yet, growing up in Venezuela as a very delicate and sensitive child was difficult. I knew that I was gay since I was little. I remember seeing guys playing basketball on the street, and I wanted to hug their hairy legs [laughs]. So I could never fit in in the way that was expected from me. I grew up surrounded by my mother and her sisters, and these women had a massive presence in my life. At the same time, they were encouraging the machismo, you know, like asking me, how are the girlfriends? And when are you going to find one? I had to fit into a specific category according to my gender, and I always felt that I needed to escape to be myself. These experiences are behind what I do because I want to share my story and those of people like me. I want to discuss queer experiences and how queer individuals connect, particularly when leaving their countries. Because when I go back home now, it doesn’t feel like one anymore. It sits somewhere in-between."
"Daniel Rey’s performance Collective Cuddles (2023) shifts our focus to the platonic intimacies between men, and the established notions of masculinity that forbid such gentle touches. As five men dressed in white T-shirts and light-wash jeans rest on a large denim cushion, the so-called Cuddling Platform, their bodies promptly latch onto the softness in one another. Moving unhurriedly, they melt into a single swelling organism: limbs sprawling on muscle, hands twisting hair, face nuzzling chest, arms holding rib cages, fingertips stroking skin. Two red ratchet straps placed on the cushion track the history of the men’s moving and shifting, growing ever more entwined in their cradle. Perhaps such emancipatory wonders do slumber inside our cramped bodies, if we dare to conceive of a world where men stretch towards each other in tenderness."
"Daniel Rey’s Courtyard of Forgotten Memories (2022) also creates a paradoxical zone of memory and belonging that allows no one to set steps in. The installation is a wooden structure with a mantle of banana leaves laid at its bottom. Made of natural materials already in decay, this ‘courtyard’ is a precarious space instead of a durable home."