Sights and Sounds: Cambodia
November 8, 2013 – January 30, 2014
Sights and Sounds: Mexico features new work by Tania Candiani, Jorge Scobell, Edgardo Aragón, and Jorge de la Garza, selected by María Inés Rodríguez.
The artist is a witness of his or her time — bystander and critic, and above all analyst. The artist questions the cultural construction of history through art. Over the past few decades, shifts in the political, social, economic, and cultural landscape have shaken the American continent and the world. These changes — and their impact in the public sphere — provide recurrent themes in contemporary art.
These video works by Mexican artists reflect on communities in constant flux, facing critical situations and forced to find strategies of survival. As the Martinican novelist, poet, and critic Édouard Glissant once wrote, “The role of the artist is to do certain things in the spirit of imagination, and to change something on the visible level.”
María Inés Rodríguez
María Inés Rodríguez (b. Zipaquira, Colombia, 1968) is Director of the CAPC, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux. She was formerly Chief Curator of the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo–UNAM, Mexico City(2011–13) and Chief Curator of MUSAC, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain (2009–11). In 2008–9, she was Curator of the Satellite Program at the Jeu de Paume, Paris, as well as editor of the French art publication Point d’Ironie.
Tania Candiani, La Magdalena, 2013, video, sound, 1 min., 41 sec. Artwork © Tania Candiani. The Colombian port of Honda, on the banks of the Magdalena River, fl ourished in the nineteenth century, but its importance has been reduced since the construction of roads and highways. Pollution and deforestation along the river banks threaten the city, which now precariously survives on fi shing and tourism. The video refers to an iconic scene in Werner Herzog’s 1982 movie Fitzcarraldo, in which the titular character plays classical music as he sails his steamship up an Amazonian river. In Candiani’s minimalist version, a canoe plies the river while a gramophone plays the Blue Danube waltz. The boat, the record player, and the river itself each stand as anachronistic symbols of thwarted progress.
Jorge Scobell, RH Reporte (HR Report), 2014, HD video, sound, 10 min., 34 sec. Artwork © Jorge Scobell, provided by the artist and Programa BBVA Bancomer – MACG Arte Actual. In certain manufacturing facilities in Queretaro and Chihuahua, the presence and performance of employees are assessed with the aid of body scans. In RH Reporte a cold, neutral voice describes this transnational human-resources strategy, noting the workers’ resistance to the process. A dystopian atmosphere pervades the work: the factories are filmed devoid of people, even as the narrator claims that their current productivity is higher than ever.
Edgardo Aragón, Exterminio (Annihilation), 2014, video, sound, 13 min., 17 sec. Artwork © Edgardo Aragón, provided by the artist and Laurel Gitlen, New York. Edgardo Aragón’s work uses a poetic tone to revisit violent episodes in Mexico’s past. Exterminio addresses the vuelos de la muerte (death flights) that occurred in the state of Guerrero in the 1970s. Military personnel routinely rounded up political opponents and suspected guerrillas; the victims, many of them peasants, were drugged, carried onto airplanes, and thrown into the Pacifi c Ocean. Aragón recreates these criminal acts by throwing bule (gourds traditionally used as drinking cups) from a plane into the water near Oaxaca. This ephemeral action creates little disturbance in the now peaceful tourist city.
Jorge de la Garza, Untitled (Ghost in the Machine), 2011, video, sound, 7 min., 46 sec. Artwork © Jorge de la Garza. This video refers to Arthur Koesler’s 1967 book-length essay The Ghost in the Machine, which attempts to explain humanity’s historic tendency toward political self-destruction. Fragments of films from the 1940s and 1950s are collaged together to form a narrative in which three protagonists of different ages function in a network of unknown machinery, fueled by contemporary, post-industrial capitalism. A melancholy yearning for the past is evoked.
November 8, 2013 – January 30, 2014
January 31 - February 27, 2014
February 28 - March 27, 2014
March 28 - April 24, 2014
April 25 - May 29, 2014
May 29 - June 26, 2014
June 27 - July 31, 2014
August 1 - 28, 2014
August 29 - September 28, 2014
September 29 - October 30, 2014
October 31 - November 25, 2014
November 28 - December 25, 2014
December 26, 2014 – January 29, 2015
January 30 - February 26, 2015
March 27 - April 30, 2015
May 1 - 28, 2015
May 29 - June 25, 2015
June 26 - July 30, 2015
July 31 - August 27, 2015
August 28 - September 24, 2015
September 25 - October 29, 2015
October 30 - November 24, 2015
November 27 - December 31, 2015
January 2 - February 4, 2016