Home Framework “Normal exceptions” struggles with its own sprawling frame

“Normal exceptions” struggles with its own sprawling frame


With more than 60 works by 45 artists, ‘Normal Exceptions’ at Museo Jumex – organized by Kit Hammons with Adriana Kuri Alamillo and Cindy Peña – is a survey of contemporary Mexican art from the last 20 years presented in six thematic sections. The exhibition’s conservation statement refers to the genre of “microhistory” – initiated in the 1970s by Simona Cerutti, Carlo Ginzburg and Giovanni Levi – which focuses on historical research on a smaller scale. But the sheer scope of this exhibition, which draws heavily from the museum’s collection, ultimately undermines this approach, when many works cannot be so easily compartmentalized thematically. Much like Mexico City’s unruly urban sprawl itself, “Normal Exceptions” is simply too large to contain a closely related conservation theme.

Daniela Rossell, Third World Blondes (Harem Hall), 2002. Courtesy of the artist and Museo Jumex, Mexico

The first gallery opens with “Portraits”, where Ana Segovia’s small, brightly colored oval paintings by actor Mauricio Garcés – the decadent Don Juan of Mexico of the 1960s and 1970s – continue his investigation of fashion fashions. dominant Mexican masculinity (‘¡Arroz!’, 2021). With Daniela Rossell’s cynical yet affectionate photographs of her wealthy peers posing shamelessly in their gaudily decorated homes (‘Third World Blondes’, 2002), these series add a touch of kitsch and glamor to the telenovela that does not feel out of place in an otherwise solemn room. Nearby, for example, is the series “Niño Perdido” by Ilán Lieberman (Lost Boy, 2005-06) – a series of small graphite portraits of missing children in Mexico.

The other sections of this gallery – “Excavation” and “Transformation” – are perhaps best embodied by Teresa Margolles 1 tonelada of escombro. Calle Santos Degollado, Ciudad Juárez. 2010 (2019), in which the artist transformed a ton of steel salvaged from demolished queer and trans nightclubs in Ciudad Juárez into a seemingly indescribable, slightly rusty 50cm cube that retains the secrets of its origin story . A similar transformational exercise is present in the work of Tania Pérez Córdoba Una olla en una olla (A Pot in a Pot, 2021), in which she created a mold from a Dutch oven only to melt and reshape it almost exactly like itself, but missing a few pieces here and there.

Stefan Brüggemann, Conceptual Decoration Silver and Black Wallpaper, 2008. Courtesy of the artist and Museo Jumex, Mexico City
Stefan Brüggemann, Conceptual decoration silver and black wallpaper, 2008. Courtesy of the artist and Museo Jumex, Mexico City

The gallery on the second floor hosts three other thematic sections: “Interventions”, “Records” and “Markets”. A large part of the walls is covered by Stefan Brüggemann Conceptual decoration silver and black wallpaper (2008), a dark, shiny silver wallpaper on which the words “conceptual decoration” are printed in black ink and repeated endlessly, draining much of the light from the space. A run-of-the-mill joke about the nature of the art market – how works of art become coveted collectibles by an industry-fueled burst of intellectualism – the piece created an uphill battle for the many less devious contributions. of the room. Pia Camil’s vibrant colors and hand-tints Spectacular Telón Pachuca I & II (Pachuca Billboard Curtains I & II, 2014), for example, were exhausted by the presence of Brüggemann’s grimy wallpaper.

Finally, in the space of the first floor, dedicated to the presentation of three distinct installations during the course of the exhibition, was Areas Acondicionados (Air Conditioners, 2021), a project by artist duo Rometti Costales in collaboration with ZONAMACO (exhibited from April 29 to June 20). It included a diaphanous projection (Revive the tunes and other things, 2021) of a woman performing a pansori – a traditional Korean genre of musical tales – and a silver thermal blanket (Space coverage, 2021), still bearing the grid marks of its tight folding, shaking gently as it hung a few inches off the ground. The contrast between this gallery and the previous ones has highlighted, for me, the main obstacle of the exhibition: how to bring together a wide range of practices under a coherent theoretical or narrative framework to generate dialogues and connections between works that transcend vague and impassive.

Normal exceptions: contemporary art in Mexico‘is on view at Museo Jumex, Mexico City, until August 15, 2021.

Main image: ‘Normal Exceptions: Contemporary Art in Mexico’, 2021, exhibition view, Museo Jumex, Mexico. Courtesy of the artist and Museo Jumex, Mexico


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