Saturday, 14 July 2012


Tercerunquinto 'It is not the Economy, Stupid' on the facade of Sala de Arte Publico Siqueiros
It's not the economy, stupid! proclaims the global financial crisis’ cultural and social complexities. By recontextualizing the memorable phrase used by the former U.S. President Bill Clinton during his 1992 campaign, Tercerunquinto highlights how the economy is not the only solution to the critical conditions generated by the logistics of post-industrial capitalism. It's not the economy, stupid! prompts a discussion centered on placing the global economic crisis and social, political, and ethnic conflicts on the same rubric. It announces the plight of nation-states and the necessary revision of the post-colonial issues in the West. Originally conceptualized for it to be seen by the English public (while taking into account the London riots of summer 2011) and later in Mexico, the group declares its mandate to raise questions about the global paradigms, but also against local problems. 

Teresa Margolles' Muro Baleado (Shot Wall), 2009 
130 concrete blocks with bullet-holes
Teresa Margolles' work is a radical and authentic gesture that points to the violent and deadly episodes that occur in Mexico on a daily basis; while it also shows how contemporary art becomes a platform for a political enunciation. Margolles displays the footprints of murder to provoke a reflection about brutality and warfare. Shot Wall is a wall shot at in Culiacan, Sinaloa. In a home, it separated the garden from the outside of the house. In the midst of Mexico’s Drug War, the wall was shot during a crossfire among the drug lords, federal and local police. Lastly, the artist recovered the original structure to set it in an art institution. 

David Zink Yi's Neusilber, 2009 
Aluminum and stainless steel
In Nuesilber, Zink Yi recreates a tropical landscape, in which a series of exotic palms trees confront the rigidity of different metals. The setting looks like a warm space, but the public encounters a mirage made by stainless steel and aluminum. It challenges perception through a playful use of light, the reformulation of space, and the artificial properties of aluminum. As a final ironic gesture, the term nuesilber (zinc, copper and nickel) points to the disorientation caused by the symbolic and physical elements of the piece. 

Cinthia Marecelle, Marzo Zero (City’s birthplace), 2007
5 bricklayers, basalt, concrete, scaffold, glass and food
Based on the processes of actionism, Marco Zero develops a situation to synthesize the physical and symbolic presentation of a contemporary ruin. In this work, five bricklayers built a structure that architecturally resembles El Cubo of the Sala the Arte Público Siqueiros. In its center, a scaffold held a basalt rock to point to the capital use of the volcanic rock in the creation of local houses. The rock was taken from the southern part of Mexico City. After the construction of the little white-cube, the workers destroyed the structure. Then, they had dinner and made a procession returning the basalt back to its place of origin, while leaving in the museum the remains of an action. The concept of a reverse sculpture determined the sculptural process. In contrast to the canons of Western sculpture, the raw material returns to its original site. At the same time, the work was dependent on the specific processes of artistic production. 


The Redeeming Institution
Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros
April 17 to July 29

As part of the multiple institutional collaborations that both museums have developed in the recent years, the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros (SAPS) and Tate Modern—museums with different missions—experienced a similar curatorial working process to achieve a common ground on the analysis of the Americas’ artistic practices. Considering the history and increasingly fragile notion of Latin American Art, four artists that share an ability to position their practices against shifting cultural, economic, and social situations were selected. Their works, at the same time, confronted each museum with the peripheral and marginal situations, which distinguished the crisis in a post-industrial society.

The redeeming Institution at the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros and No Lone Zone at the Tate Modern showed the work of Cinthia Marcelle (Brazil), Teresa Margolles (Mexico), Tercerunquinto (Mexico), and David Zink Yi (Peru-Germany). These exhibitions provoked the geopolitical boundaries of the “historically correct” to relocate the shifting events that occurred on the street to the museum—a power institution. No Lone Zone focused on different levels of representation and documentation embedded in the works of these artists, while the exhibition at the SAPS appeased to the voyeur that involves an audience through participation.

The 2011 England riots, for Tercerunquinto, allowed the study on how the Western economic crisis masked the context of socio-cultural difference that could re-designate the role of the social groups displaced from the center of power in this society, but at the same time, how the obvious differences among social classes in Latin America could give way to the collapse of the prevailing socio-political system. With the qualities of a daily news journal, Tercerunquinto confronted the public with a re-contextualization of President Bill Clinton’s memorable phrase: “it’s the economy, stupid.” With her acute ability to act globally, Teresa Margolles continued to trail violent murders. This is not about generating objects that pertained to the style of the terminologies of art history, but to relocate the “vessels” of these violent situations. On her part, Cynthia Marcelle drafted a precise discourse linked to a critical situation resulting from the current economic crisis. Her work is related to the development of situations of survival that cause violence and nostalgia. Finally, David Zink Yi seemed to behave in an opposite manner; but his gesture is a painstaking effort to achieve a technical perfection that reaches another level of reality. The Peruvian artist sought to advance a methodology that disregards any nihilistic or activist strategy. On the streets of Cuba, Zink Yi searched for traditions that are not forgotten, but marginalized; and through this study deconstructed cultural notions of the modern sense of nationhood, while moving towards the global sphere.

As a space that challenges political ideal, while enhancing its function as a site-specific museum, for the SAPS the collaboration with Tate Modern was necessary to assess its prevailing character as a National Museum. In London, the exhibition was curated by Iria Candela and in Mexico City by Taiyana Pimentel.

Special thanks to the Fundación Colección Jumex and Hauser and Wirth Gallery, New York.

Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros
Tres Picos 29
Polanco, Mexico City
Mexico, 11560
visit the Tate Modern version of the exhibition here

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