Well, 2016 has been a year that I know many of us are thankful will soon come to an end. Regardless of what country you come from or where you reside, the current state of world affairs can only leave one wondering what’s next? Here, in Oaxaca, we will celebrate the closing of the year with carved radishes, lively posadas, mole, mezcal and the infamous 12 grapes to ring in the Gregorian new year. As we reflect on this last cycle and usher in the next, don´t just feed your belly; Oaxaca has some powerful exhibitions on view to offer some year end food for thought.
The current absolute must-see exhibition, in my book, is El Ultimo Grito at the Instituto de Artes Gráficas de Oaxaca (IAGO). The France based publishing house and screen-print collective, Le Dernier Cri, was invited by Francisco Toledo and IAGO for a two week residency in Oaxaca, during which they screen printed the entirety of the extensive exhibition. You will find the first two rooms of the gallery filled floor to ceiling with works by various members of the collective. The collective’s international membership is evident in the presented works. Japanese, Hindu and oriental motifs abound in the collection of prints; the diverse inspirations of each artist member are joined together in the collective’s self-described ”disturbing and sick” aesthetics. The over-all tone of the exhibition is reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch’s A Garden of Earthly Delights. The overwhelming quantity of work on display is further exaggerated by the dense figurative depictions that seem to exist in a realm of apathetic pleasure, somewhere between enlightenment and doom. The exhibition feels especially pertinent as we embark on 2017 and a rather daunting foreseeable future; don’t miss it! On view until January 15, 2017.
Macedonia Alcalá 507, Historic Centre
Mon, Wed-Sun 9:30am – 8pm
El Cuerpo Como Campo de Subversión, curated by Andrea Jösch, brings together the work of six Chilean artists to consider the corporeal implications of imposed power structures. Two of my personal favourites from the show are Andrés Durán’s Monumento Editado (2014-2016) and Andrés Figueroa’s Tiradores (2013-2015). Durán documents the republican statuary found throughout Santiago, Chile and in post-production alters each monument to conceal the human figure and change the dialogue from one of nationalism and patriotism, to a critique of the very system these public statues seek to glorify. In a very different approach, Figueroa has made large-scale, stoic portraits of the men and women who transport goods and material from point A to point B. Each subject has been photographed with the burdensome loads they are hired to carry. The physical marriage of the bulky cargo and the powerful bodies used to move it, turns these fringe members of society into their own statue of sorts, celebrating their physical force and the integral role they play in local commerce. On view until January 13, 2017.
M. Bravo 116, Historic Centre
Mon, Wed-Sun 9:30am – 8pm
For something of a completely different nature, head out to the magical Centro de las Artes in San Agustín, Etla and visit their incredible exhibition of contemporary shibori and ikat masterpieces. While at first glance this collection of impressive textile and fibre artworks may not seem political, the pure practice of these traditional, time consuming, and quality techniques is an act of rebellion and counter-culture in and of itself. The extensive display of work brings together artists and masters of their craft from around the world to present a truly remarkable panorama of how these time-honoured approaches can be implemented into contemporary fashion and fine art. Don’t miss this show and do try your best not to drool on the artwork! On view until January 8, 2017.
Ave. Independencia, Vista Hermosa, San Agustín, Etla
Mon-Sun, 9am – 6pm