What to see during Mexico City Art Week


Ai Hasegawa, Quiero dar a luz un delfin, 2013, photography. Courtesy: © the artist and the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC)

“Maternar: between Stockholm syndrome and acts of production”
Museo Universitario Contemporary Art (MUAC)
November 20, 2021 – June 12, 2022

The Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) presents a terrific exhibition on motherhood, with contributions from more than 30 international artists and collectives, many from Latin America. Instead of romanticizing motherhood, artists critically discuss this subject in all its cultural, social, political and economic complexity. At the heart of the argument mounted by the exhibition is a critique of the socially accepted disparity between productive and reproductive work. For example, the multimedia work OVERALL BELLY (2017) by German collective Flinn Works sheds light on transnational surrogacy by featuring interviews with a doctor in India, a gay parent in Germany, and a surrogate mother in the United States. And in his video performance Afrodite (2017), Núria Güell documents the negotiations she had with a museum on the reallocation of the production cost of a project to pay her social security contributions for seven months, which in Spain is the minimum required to qualify for benefits of maternity. ‘Maternar’ engages with the reproductive constraints that the capitalist system imposes on our bodies. It illustrates women’s frustrations caused by societal expectations, highlights representations of motherhood that lead to exclusion and racism, and also exposes the degree of legislative power that some governments have over the allocation of authority. parental.

Antonio Vega Macotela, “Lubumbashi"2022
Antonio Vega Macotela, Lubumbashi, 2022, assembly of wood, gold and leather, 100 × 64 × 4 cm. Courtesy: © The Artist and Work, Mexico City

Antonio Vega Macotela
February 7 – April 12, 2022

In his exhibition at LABOR, ‘Es Cadáver, es Polvo, es Sombra, es Nada’ (It’s a corpse, it’s dust, it’s shadow, it’s nothing), Antonio Vega Macotela showcases the final chapter of his long-running project A walk back Q’aqchas (The Ballad of the Q’aqchas, 2018-22). Worked in collaboration with an anonymous group of hackers, this project reflects on the history of the Q’aqchas, a multicultural group of illegal miners active in the Potosi region of Bolivia in the 18th century, a period when the country was under colonial rule. within the framework of “New Spain”. The exhibit draws parallels between the activities of hackers and miners, and examines each group’s disruptive relationship to the power structure of their respective times. Like the Q’aqchas have done in the past, hackers exploit loopholes in the system to gain an advantage – but instead of mining minerals, they extract the most valuable material in today’s economy. : information.

Raúl Guerrero Tomo II: Paseo de la Reforma (Chapultepec), 1994
Raul Guerrero, Tomo II: Paseo de la Reforma (Chapultepec), 1994, oil on linen, 1 × 1 m. Courtesy: © the artist and Gaga, Mexico

Raul Guerrero
February 8 – March 12

Raúl Guerrero has been active in the Southern California art scene for more than four decades, but it’s only in recent years that his work has gained recognition beyond his native San Diego-Tijuana. Over time, Guerrero’s practice has included sculpture, photography and performance, but since the late 1980s his work has focused primarily on painting, a medium through which he explores the representation of place. in relation to identity. It focuses in particular on Southern California and its complex cultural history, which was formative for its own multilevel Mexican American identity and the development of its diverse artistic and cultural influences. Guerrero creates works – full of satirical spirit – that are inspired by colonial narratives and campaigns, such as the colonization of the Great Plains, the American West and the annexation of Mexican lands. At Gaga – his very first exhibition in Mexico – the artist presents paintings from the series “Historia y Leyendas de Las Calles de México” (Stories and legends of the streets of Mexico City, 1993-1998), in which he presents his vision metropolitan personal. It’s one in which Guerrero mixes official historical narratives with stories featuring people and elements that have become woven into the city’s popular culture: a sphere of reference in which photographer and political activist Tina Modotti and l comic actor Cantinflas coexists with tourists and American taxi drivers.

Sofia Berakha, Parking Mohair, 2021
Sofia Berakha, Mohair Parking, 2021, oil on canvas, 1.8 × 1.2 m. Courtesy: © the artist and Lodos, Mexico

Sofia Berakha
February 8 – April 9

‘Tartán’ (Tartan) is the first exhibition in Mexico by Sofia Berakha, an Argentinian artist who studied under the famous artist program at Torcuato Di Tella University in Buenos Aires and with Jutta Koether of the University of Hamburg Fine Arts. Here, Berakha presents 11 large-scale oil paintings (all from 2021) in which the rigid surface structures that characterize the city center, such as floor tiles, pedestrian crossings and rows of shaped windows of grids on buildings, dissolve into abstract and surreal patterns. The balance sometimes appears disturbed and the orientation lost. Some paints, like See the dress code (2021) are adorned with chains, conveying an ambiguous tension between entrapment and adornment. For the presentation of this new body of work, Lodos has stripped down the walls of its gallery, creating a stark contrast between Berakha’s emotionally charged images and the stripped-down space in which they are displayed.

Tania Ximena Ecliptica Solar 1 (detail), 2022
Tania Ximena, Ecliptica Solar 1 (detail), 2022, mural of corn, beans, lentils, wheat, canary seed and sunflower seeds. Courtesy: © the artist and LLANO, Mexico

Tania Ximena
February 8 – March 26

Since 2019, artist Tania Ximena has been living in Amecameca (a town located near two volcanoes located southeast of Mexico City) with a group of time: practitioners of a pre-Hispanic form of meteorology that can predict the influence of the weather on the annual harvest cycle by observing the activity of volcanoes, rivers and animals, and the state of the landscape as a whole. This ritual practice shows how indigenous knowledge and culture are intertwined with nature, weather patterns, the annual harvest and the effects of climate change. Ximena’s first solo exhibition in Llano features a map-like floor piece and two paintings that document her experience learning the ritual practices of her Amecameca hosts. The works – all from the series ‘Eclíptica Solar’ (Solar Eclipse, 2022) – adopt the perspective offered by the position of the city, one that presents its close volcanic neighbors, Iztaccihuati and Popcatépeti (landmarks visible from afar from the Llano) – here Ximena illustrates subjects such as the changing colors of the landscape through the seasons and the position of the sun during the equinox.

Escucha Profunda, Arte Alameda Laboratory, 2022
‘Escucha profunda: Prácticas hacia el mundo al revés’, 2022, installation view. Courtesy of: © Laboratorio Arte Alameda

‘Escucha profunda: Practicas hacia el mundo al reves’
Arte Alameda Laboratory
October 26, 2021 – February 28, 2022

Laboratorio Arte Alameda – housed in the 16th-century building of the former Convent of San Diego in the city’s Centro Histórico – is a technology-driven contemporary art institution. In their latest exhibition, “Escucha profunda: Prácticas hacia el mundo al revés” (Deep Listening: Practices Towards an Inverted World), four ambitious solo projects by Mexican artists Yutsil, María Sosa, Naomi Rincón Gallardo and Fernando Palma Rodríguez reactivate Mesoamerican knowledge as a form of resilience against capitalism. Palma Rodríguez created the multimedia installation Tlazohuelmanaz (Love offering, 2021) in which he offers a contemporary reinterpretation of the hieroglyphic writing system of the Aztec Náhuatl language, as a means of preserving the philosophy and linguistics of a particular indigenous culture. The video of Naomi Rincón Gallardo, opossum resilience (2019), is speculative and satirical fiction in which Mesoamerican symbols and myths, intercut with popular music, provide the material for intersectional feminist, decolonial and queer narratives of resistance. In their respective projects, María Sosa and Yutsil use the body as a medium to denounce the violence of a heteropatriarchal and colonial logic. Rincón Gallardo and Palma Rodríguez – along with Mariana Castillo Deball and Santiago Borja Charles – are due to represent Mexico at the Venice Biennale this year.

Main image: Maruch Méndez, Smoton jk’ajvaltik (Regalo de Dios)2020. Courtesy: © the artist and Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC)


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