In his work, Ríos pairs a rigorous conceptual approach with a meticulously constructed, often handmade aesthetic. Since the 1970s, he has made work about the concept of the “Latin American,” using this idea as both an artistic strategy and a political problem. In the 1990s, he began creating a series of maps, which he carefully folded and pleated by hand. Marking the 500th anniversary of the “discovery” of the Americas, the maps indicate long histories of power and colonial experience, and they reference traditional indigenous arts in the Americas, including the Andean quipu. Since the early-2000s, Ríos has also delved into the medium of video to create symbolic narratives about human experience, violence, and mortality.