Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros (SAPS) presents three new exhibitions, curated by María Elena Ortiz, that foster the energy of an emerging generation of Mexican artists who acknowledge the history of the country, to fearlessly position an aesthetic and political discourse in the global stage. With individual projects, Rita Ponce de León (b. 1982, Lima), Bayrol Jiménez (b. 1984, Oaxaca) and José Luis Rojas (b. 1975, Mexico City) start their specific investigations on national issues to produce a distinct visual language characterized by an ideological rigor that speaks, with a sense of urgency, to a plurality. Moreover, their formal concerns assert the political possibilities of art aiming for the development of a critical dialogue about the current moment. With these exhibitions, SAPS examines alternative artistic strategies to further develop the conceptual legacy of an institution, dedicated to the study of the relationship between politics and art.
Rita Ponce de León
November 28, 2012 until March 2013
David, a new commission by Rita Ponce de León, is a contemporary mural conceived as the portrait of David Alfaro Siqueiros. It was developed through drawings, conversations that the artist had with colleagues and friends, and by way of an investigation of the Siqueiros archive. On the walls of the white cube, David is a collection of drawings in black ink. It is an archipelago of meanings that attempts to critically and empathetically relate with the Mexican muralist. The work provides a space of representation and a game of perspectives that alters the stiffness of traditional mural walls.
After investigating the archive, Ponce de León carried a series of conversations on the muralists’ ethical, political and artistic proposals while positioning her creative process within the intimacy of a conversation. This strategy allowed for the intuitive creation of the visual fragments that compose the piece. Disregarding the hierarchies of images and thoughts that characterized the work of the muralist, David was constructed through the impressions of a collective to questions the dogmatic aspects of Mexican Muralism.
José Luis Rojas
The Semblance of Control
November 28, 2012 until March 2013
With an ironic approach toward the many moods that are consumed in the globalized world, The Semblance of Control shows sculptures composed of boxes of medicine, needles, syringes, cigarette butts and debris. The works present a fascination with miniature objects and a cynical attitude towards the industries of controlled substances (prescriptions and illegal drugs) and war. Meanwhile, some of the pieces are fragile compositions that point to the frantic disposition of drug consumption. The artist playfully exploits the dynamics of terrorism, while approaching the levels of economic, political and cultural fragmentation that lead to contemporary social tensions. Consequently, the exhibition highlights a significant aspect of Rojas’s work: the relationship between a personal condition and the collective pathology.
October 25, 2012 until February 2013
At odds with controversies of the Mexican elections of 2012, Bayrol Jiménez presents Dramamón—a mural of a hallucinating scene in which recognizable people from the Mexican political and popular culture engage in a series of frantic actions and images such as the portrayal of outgoing President Felipe Calderón intoxicated on his way to his new job at Harvard University, while President Obama yells at him with disdain. In this way, Jiménez builds on the history of Mexican comics in terms of brushstrokes, but also on its public character—specifically for mass communication. With a touch of black humor, Jiménez offers a critique of the way in which the genre of drama has offered national discourses to Mexican culture.