The second of three exhibitions featured at Museo de Art Contemporaneo de Monterrey MARCO this Summer is Ruta Mistica (Mystical Road). I had the opportunity to view this wonderful exhibition which reassesses the notion of mysticism within the current Latin American context through the reflections of ten contemporary artists according to the exhibition’s curatorial statement.
At the entrance of the exhibition, one is welcomed by Marcos Castro whose works explore the imagery of the eagle devouring the serpent. A Mexican mystic symbol of the settlement of the Aztecs in now Mexico City. Castro examines conceptual representations of such account via sculpture, drawing and tile installation.
All the artists in this exhibition are conceptualists and their works are the result of studies, investigation and exploration. In Maria Garcia Ibañez’ beautiful artifacts and installations, one discovers a pristine archeological site merging the old and the new within the confines of the gallery space. Utilizing ceramic medium, the artist recreates single bones and bone structures such as the back column. With precision, neatness and impeccable finish, Garcia Ibañez decorates the vertebrae of three adult back columns floating in space. The ceramic vertebrae painted with flowers and spots of gold command presence and invite to close inspection. Inviting the viewer to come up with his/her own visual dissection, Garcia Ibañez investigates the mysticism of death, life and the perception of both. This exploration is reaffirmed by a series of highly detailed drawings of organic forms, bones and flowers. The flowers then, become a highly charged symbolic element that under Garcia Ibañez creates a parallel line of the celebration of life and the reminder of death. It is in such dichotomy of elements that one is presented with alternative understandings to otherwise ordinary cultural elements.
In terms of video work, Antonio Pacuar features a short film of a young man whose identity is hidden by the camera’s focus on his upper torso eliminating the head and lower body. In this work, the male figure acts as a sort of self appointed altar, shrine or mystic figure by slowly lighting up each finger with a small flame. Each finger has its tip covered with a wick and wax acting as living candles. The flame slowly is initiated and passed on one finger at a time to be then terminated by the other hand pressing slowly on each wick. Such repetitious work provides a visual avenue of interpretations related to the role of ritual, supplication, religion and mystical experience in Latin American cultures where the heavy use of candles is associated with ideas of intercession, transcendence and death.
Artist Lafadir Luna documents via photographs the fictitious myth of a mysterious character identified as El Hombre Del Maiz (The Man of Corn). A completely corn-covered male figure seating on a chair is paraded, revered and celebrated within the streets of La Merced in Mexico City. The fruit and vegetable vendors of this well known area of Mexico City accompany El Hombre Del Maiz in his mythical symbolic trajectory exploring elements of social action and belief structures.
There are a number of artists in the exhibition. The exhibition is large and carefully curated along the galleries of MARCO. Definitely a must see exhibition if you happen to visit Monterrey anytime soon.
CURATOR: Gonzalo Ortega.
MUSEOGRAPHY: Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey.
TECHNIQUES: Painting, drawing, photography, installation, sculpture and video.
NUMBER OF WORKS: Approximately 50 pieces.
TIME FRAME: From 12 July to 20 October 2013.
ARTISTS: Alfadir Luna, Antonio Paucar, David Gremard Romero, Gabriel de la Mora, Gabriel Rossell Santillán, Marcos Castro, María García-Ibáñez, Miler Lagos, Pedro Reyes and Santiago Borja.