Sophie Legrandjacques, director of Le Grand Café
A nomadic artist, Abraham Cruzvillegas scrutinizes the cultures, histories, populations and sites at his every port of call. The singularity of contexts and chance encounters are elements nourishing his abundant practice in which assembled and revitalised found objects are infinitely re-articulated. Paradoxically, out of this disparity comes a peculiar harmony, a cohesive energy that partly finds its source in the artist’s childhood.
Born in 1968, he grew up in Ajusco, to the south of Mexico City, where his parents, like other migrants, took up reputedly uninhabitable sites, chaotic landscapes that they colonised with precarious and pragmatic ‘autoconstructed’ housing that is functionally and aesthetically extremely singular, and which by chance and by necessity they never stopped transforming.
Inspired by the continual construction site of his family home, Abraham Cruzvillegas’s installations relay this experimental vitality wherein ingenuity and improvisation equate to activism: “A lot of my work demonstrates my urge to confront two or more different economic systems at the same time, through DIY, construction, provoking hybrid marriages and odd mixtures of materials and techniques. A reproduction of the diverse dynamics involved, using the economic and social environment as a kind of scaffolding that I can move around on.”
At Le Grand Café contemporary art centre in Saint-Nazaire, Abraham Cruzvillegas is presenting for the first time in a French institution a part of a project that he has been pursuing for several years: a group of installations, books and songs, and also a theatre piece and films, a number of works that the artist has brought together under the generic title Autoconstrucción
. The exhibition shows some of the facets, enriched by a new commission, of this rich and tentacular body of work that replays in multiple forms the same desire—to apprehend identity as an indefinite construction, as metamorphosis and instability.
Born in 1968, the artist and writer Abraham Cruzvillegas studied art and philosophy at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), where he went on to teach. While studying under Gabriel Orozco, he participated in the new wave of conceptual practices that emerged in Mexico City in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He has since become a presence on the international scene, at the Havana Biennial in 1994, the 25th São Paulo Biennial in 2002, the Venice Biennale 2003, with the exhibition “Unmonumental” at the New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York, 2007), at the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) in Glasgow in 2008, and at REDCAT in Los Angeles in 2010.