Material, one of Mexico City’s most visited art fairs, is back this year for its 10th anniversary edition, opening for VIPs on Thursday morning. With booths spread across two floors of the Expo Reforma Convention Center in Colonia Juarez, the offerings here are robust. There is great art to see, many artists to learn about, and wonderful conversations to have.
One of Material’s latest initiatives is the relaunch of its Projects section. In this edition of the fair, six venues have been selected to participate in the fair for free, where they partner with a curator to serve as a mentor and provide them with various tools to help them enhance their programs. Provided access to services. All of the galleries in this group are located beyond Mexico City. Although they are young, emerging places, they have quickly established themselves as important to their communities. Come from three border cities: Tijuana, Mexicali, and Ciudad Juarez. The strong performances here prove how a fair can meaningfully help the new generation of dealers.
Below, take a look at Material’s best booths, which run through February 11.
Salvador de la Torre at the Azul Arena
One of the standouts of the Proyectos section is the booth of Ciudad Juarez-based Azul Arena, whose stated intention is to counter the negative imagery and stereotypes prevalent in US-Mexico border interactions in popular media. To accomplish that goal, the gallery presents the work of artists with lived experiences in border areas.
All four artists shown here are exhibiting gender-related work. Alejandra Aragon studies the history of the color pink; Alonso Robles explores how young men as chameleons at quinceañeras learn about societal expectations of men; Mariana Ajo looks at how women perform in front of the camera.
Salvador de la Torre, who grew up in Laredo, Texas and now lives in Los Angeles, renders similar subjects in rough clay pottery in various shades of white, black and brown. The halves have different sized nipples – they allude to the top surgery procedure, before which a doctor asks the patient how they would like their nipples to look. The other half documents a trans man changing his clitoris to an enlarged shape that resembles a penis after starting hormone therapy. is involved in these tasks weight of balls, a short video showing de la Torre walking down a Juárez street. He pulls out a pair of ceramic testicles that measure about three feet tall. De la Torre thought that the ceramic balls would break when he staged the performance; They didn’t do it and they plan to keep repeating this performance until they do.
Jose Luis Arroyo-Robles in Abarrante
In his contribution to this four-person booth, also in the Proyectos section, Aberrante co-founder José Luis Arroyo-Robles traces the transformation of the tree. Inside the wooden boxes are raw wood, small ticks, pencils and rulers, decorative items, and finally a plastic chair imitating it. There are minimal paintings of wood (in blue and green) on each level, as well as silver gelatin photographs of a canal being built to transport wood. Tree cutting is important in the state of Michoacán, where Abarrante was founded. Michoacán is the largest producer of avocados, and much of its agricultural land has been cleared to expand the avocado industry, destroying monarch butterfly habitat.
Romeo Gomez Lopez at Salon Silicone
Romeo Gómez López is in top form here, performing with Salon Silicon, which is fast becoming one of Mexico City’s most beloved ventures. At the center of the gallery is a trapezoid-shaped wooden sculpture on which Gómez López has painted four versions of actor Zac Efron, shirtless and in orange hot pants as he readjusts his crotch. The job also matches Efron’s exact height at 5’8”. To its right is an animatronic statue, protruding from the wall, of a limp wrist – a reference to a popular meme about gay men – holding an iced coffee. On its left side is a statue of six legs of football players.
While the first two works are playful, the latter has a more sinister premise. According to curator Olga Rodríguez Montemayor, football has one of the most patriarchal structures in Mexico, with its matches ranked among the most dangerous for women in Mexico. Whether a team wins or loses, incidents of domestic violence and rape against women are dramatically higher on game days.
Adriana Lara and Newton in Mud
One of this week’s most talked-about gallery shows is Newton’s solo at Lodoss, the artist’s first in 20 years. For their booth at Material, Lodoss has paired a historical work, a sculpture from 1987, with Adriana Lara’s 2007 video work. In a video shown on TV, leaning against the plinth that holds Newton’s statue, we see a woman laughing so hysterically that she has tears in her eyes. It is contagious. The mysterious artist is none other than Rosa Gurrola, who shows her art under the name Newton.
tania ximena in lano
A stunning, abstract landscape at the fair comes courtesy of Tania Ximena. This diptych features beautifully arranged beans and maize (corn) of different varieties and colors. All of them come from areas near volcanoes, including the two closest to Mexico City (Iztacihuatl and Popocatépetl). Ximena works closely with indigenous communities who have grown these staple foods since pre-Hispanic times and who have preserved sacred rituals related to their harvest. Like colonization, climate change also represents another real threat to these communities and their ability to sustain themselves with the food vital to their survival over generations.
Ruben Ulises Rodriguez Montoya in Murmurs
For the booth of L.A.-based gallery Murmurs, Mexico City-based artist Rubén Ulises Rodríguez Montoya presents a suite of striking sculptures that blend elements widely seen throughout the city: from brooms to earrings (someone’s house Or cleaning the entrances to a business is almost a ritual) practice in CDMX); the hyper-masculine sombrero, which Rodríguez Montoya made quirky by adding sequins; And leather. All of these are mixed into distorted creatures meant to represent naguales, shapeshifters associated with Mesoamerican religions. Their distorted shapes are also reminiscent of Rodriguez’s own personal history. He grew up in Sunland Park, New Mexico, not far from El Paso and near the Camino Real Landfill, known for toxic waste and deadly fumes.
Gonzalo Hernandez in Vigil Gonzalez
What defines success and failure for an artist? It’s a recurring theme in the work of Miami-based artist Gonzalo Hernandez, who is showing three woven works at the fair. Hanging on the wall are two other woven works by Hernandez that show an abstract interpretation of her famous 1968 installation, titled tie (Neck Tie), by Peruvian artist Gloria Gómez-Sánchez. Frustrated by the hold of fellow artist Fernando de Szízlo on Lima’s art scene during the 1960s, Gómez-Sánchez, whose avant-garde art was linked to conceptual practices that were not favored, presented his final exhibition in 1970. It served as a manifesto. Sort of, with the now famous line: “Is art dead?” He never created any other artwork and few of his pieces survive today. Although she is now taught in art history courses in Peru, where Hernández first learned about her, she is not as well known outside her country. Her presence in the Hammer Museum’s groundbreaking 2017 “Radical Women” exhibition, a survey of Latin American artists of that era, is one of her only exhibitions in the US.
A folding screen is displayed on the floor, with one side featuring a self-portrait of the artist sleeping on a mattress in his studio shortly after arriving in Miami from Peru. On the other side is a quote by the Peruvian poet Luis Hernández: “Dentro de mi Corazon / Hay otro Corazon / Que suena / Creo que essa / Es mi verdadero Corazon” (“Inside my heart / There is another heart / That dreams. / I believe this is my true heart”).
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