I am a ‘diaspora’ Latinx. Hola. It means everyone back home thinks I am basic (2023) is a live performance with a black piñata filled with institutional confetti, teasing out a state of fall. Every time the devilish performer hits the piñata, it responds with a noise that resembles a grunt to create the illusion that the object is suffering. This  action parodies the diasporic trope of evoking childhood memories, by revising this Mexican tradition to evoke a sadistic scene, amplifying the darker connotations of this festive ritual. 

For its first presentation, and in line with this satirical commentary, Ramírez filled the piñata with institutional confetti made out of the book A Short Ride in a Fast Machine: Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces: 1985 - 2005, shredded with the help of staff. This gesture is a pun on the title of the book, for the piñata was a rapid vessel for its torn pages, that existed for only a short period of time. Since confetti is a celebratory material but requires the shredding of paper for its making, it invites complex interpretations.

'A Short Ride In A Fast Machine: Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces 1985 - 2005edited by Charlotte Day,

Ramírez' physicality references movements from the cocaine fuelled performances of Paco Stanley and Mario Bezares screened on Mexican TV in the 90s, which ended after a cartel shot the former. The artist incorporates this cultural reference for its qualities as an archetypical 'fall' story arch, that mimics the speedy rise and fall of the black piñata. As well as a sober reminder of the sinister depth of humour. 

The performer’s outfit is a rendition to Constantine’s (2005) depiction of the devil as a party goer and casino player stained with a black substance. This representation belongs to a wider shift towards psychological, rather than morphological, imaginings of Satan in visual culture.  

The object was handmade to be broken, offering an existential gesture. Aligned with Ramírez’ wider project, the piñata established intricate relationships with its context.

Piñata fabricated by Zamara Zamara and sound by Bonnie Cummings. Funded by Multicultural Arts Victoria through their Diaspora Commissions and City of Melbourne .


When I was a child, I used to dress like El Diablito (2021) is a set of photographs that consider how we demonise people from other places. Drawing from a 1959 Mexican film, Santa Claus vs The Devil, where the English dubbed version gave Santa an American accent, but preserved the Mexican accent of the Devil, Ramirez reflects on the conflation of racial markers and devilish features—such as mischief, disorder, and chaos. He previously touched on this area of interest in a different context for his essay Racial Phantasmagoria: The demonisation of the other in Richard Mosse’s ‘Incoming’ (2018), where he begins charting how the Western gaze displaces demonic fantasies onto others. And teased some of this symbology further in his paper Iconographic Necromancy (2020) for the Dark Eden conference, where he looks at the Statue of Baphomet erected by The Satanic Temple.

One of the aims of this work is to wrap the evolving taxonomy of the devil in the aesthetics of selfie culture, epitomised by the lifestyle glasses and prosumer sensibilities of the photographs. Following the logic of re-staging and thinking through a childhood memory, the artist wanted to understand how the stereotypical image of Satan in the movie Santa Claus vs The Devil came to be.

Ramirez began by looking at the how Medieval perceptions of the devil as a hybrid beast led to the image of the fallen angel as a humanoid and horned entity in the Renaissance. The wingless apocalyptic demons in Lucas Signorelli’s fresco The Damned Cast into Hell (1499-1504) typifies how artists stopped relying on abhorrent forms to represent vileness and instead leaned on the proximity of evil as part of a wider concern with humanism. The horns, as it is well known, is a transfiguration of the Greek god Pan and the Roman Faun that symbolise the heresy of paganism in the monotheistic mind.

The red colour associated with blood and hellfire is largely consolidated by the pictorial influence of Mephistopheles in the Modern plays of Faust, a character who contracts a human soul in exchange for knowledge. Fabio Cipolla’s painting Marguerite, Faust and Mephisto, Scene from Faust by Charles Gounod (1900) shows how this iconic wardrobe starts to resemble the campy and theatrical visage of Satan in the 20th century.

This is also true of the puffy shorts, which can be seen in lithographs of the play. In the context of the play, this clothing arguably reference the figure of the Jetser to convey the treacherous nature of Mephistopheles. Jan Matejko’s representation of the Jester in Stańczyk (1862) shows the similarities between ideations of the court Jester and Mephistopheles. While this painting does not feature puffy shorts, it is clear that in the 20th century, they are meant to situate the devil within campy Medieval conceptions of the fool.

Ramirez acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Land where he lives and works, the Wurundjeri people. He pays his respects to Elders past, present and emerging of the Kulin Nation.