Tuesday, 20 April 2010
ADRIANO PEDROSA 'THE TRAVELING SHOW' AT JUMEX COLLECTION MEXICO CITY, SOME SELECTED WORKS
The Traveling Show
If time is the great theme of literature, displacement is the great theme of the objects. In literature, words, sentences and histories are re-articulated by means of memory and forgetting, undergoing changes through time – that mighty sculptor, in the words of Marguerite Yourcenar. Our perception changes over the course of a day, a year or a life. In the world of the objects, everything is in permanent movement: the world turns, blood circulates in our veins, we cross the street, the city, and the geography. In this context, every exhibition is in some way about traveling. The artworks migrate from the artist’s studio or from a collection to a gallery or museum; they are regrouped, recontextualized, juxtaposed to others. Everything here has suffered some sort of displacement. The result—the precise arrangement of the objects in space—is also an invitation to travel, for the encounter or discovery of different itineraries through the reading of the objects, their histories and experiences.
The Traveling Show is an exhibition about trips, passages, journeys, shipments, displacements and cartographies. Chronologically, the exhibition begins in 19th-century Mexico, with a group of European travelers who visited the country: Octavio D’Alvimar, Henri Pierre Léon Pharamond Blanchard, Baron de Gros and Jean-Frédéric Maximilien de Waldeck. Mexico’s Plaza Mayor (Zócalo) is a recurrent motif in the period, and the version presented here is the first made by a foreigner; its author, D’Alvimar, was a French General who was twice deported from Mexico for espionage. Two exceptional paitings from the Museo Soumaya appear as historical counterpoints to the contemporary, indicating two distinct 19th-century European views of Mexico: awe in light of the unknown (in Gros’ cave) and the construction of a fictitious past (in Waldeck’s ceremony). Two other travelers, from the 20th and 18th century, are referenced by contemporary artists in the exhibition. Tamar Guimarães, Steven Lam, Eric Anglès, Runo Lagomarsino and Sarah Lookofsky appropriate a passage from the text Mornings in Mexico, from 1927, by English writer D. H. Lawrence. Mark Dion followed the trail of North American explorer William Bartram through the southern United States during the 18th century.
In chronological sequence, we find a group of artists associated with the 1960s and ’70s who explored the relations between art and geography, displacement and territory: Vito Acconci, Alighiero e Boetti, Andre Cadere, Lygia Clark, Eugenio Dittborn, Juan Downey, Dan Graham, Douglas Heubler, On Kawara, Robert Kinmont, Richard Long, Ana Mendieta, Gina Pane, Claudio Perna, Robert Smithson and Lawrence Weiner. A group of contemporary artists working with video and film play with the traveling shot, the road movie or the journey: Allora & Calzadilla, Darren Almond, Cao Guimarães, Marine Hugonnier, Fernando Ortega, Thiago Rocha Pitta, Santiago Sierra and Carla Zaccagnini. In this context, two works in video are counterpoints to moving images of trips: one composed by movie-like credits in text form (by Mike Bouchet), the other by biographical statements (by Dias & Riedweg). At the physical center of the exhibition, which is designed to evoke a compass, an installation by Eduardo Basualdo, articulating displacement, time and light by means of gyratory elements, maps, fire and a faceless character. In the intercrossing of so many paths, other contemporary artists resort to different manners to explore in multiple ways a succession of elements related to traveling: bicycles, trucks, boats, airplanes, suitcases, postcards, maps, travel albums, airplane tickets, passports and intruders (a complete survey of all neon sculptures produced by Claire Fontaine in the series Foreigners Everywhere). If the objects gathered here speak of displacement, we also displace ourselves in space to apprehend them. Thus, new journeys are overlain atop others, repeatedly and successively. As in literature.
Adriano Pedrosa, Curator
At the occasion of these two exhibitions at La Colección Jumex, exceptionally about half of the artworks are loans and productions of new works. There are no plans for the show to travel.
Artists in the exhibition:
Franz Ackermann & Michael Majerus
Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla
Alighiero e Boetti
Mauricio Dias & Walter Riedweg
Peter Fischli & David Weiss
Jean-Baptiste-Louis Gros – Barón de Gros
Tamar Guimarães, Steven Lam, Eric Anglès, Runo Lagomarsino and Sara Lookofsky
Thiago Rocha Pitta
Pablo Vargas Lugo
Jean-Frédéric Maximilien de Waldeck