Artists Art Issues Exhibitions About Us Search

Art & Social Space
On the brink of an Emerging Establishment or an Emerged Death?
by Jennifer Teets

Bookmark and Share

Four independent art spaces from Mexico City: 1. La Torre de los Vientos 2. Sábados en Chyg's 3. Programa Art Center 4. La Panaderí­a.

I. A short briefing

Mexico City may be home to more artist-run and/or independent art spaces than those listed above, yet these four provide a useful guide to what has been called "emerging" artist spaces. Each of the four question the legitimacy of the exhibition environment and the very nature of artistic production. In fact, the majority of these spaces hold exhibitions of international acclaim, often setting afoot local artists on their emerging careers. They have promoted and fostered the development of artworks that many museums and commercial galleries now seek, issuing forth a credibility that is irrefutable when confronted by the authority of "official institutions." Ironically, the art establishment and the world of commerce are inherent in their early developement while at the same time exuding a certain naiveté and a punk-rockish attitude, particularly in the early nineties. Though many began, or are beginning their early funding on mere beer sales as well as on their founder's personal savings, there is no denying an enterprising role in their future financial development by establishing financial ties with established and cash-rich institutions, for those institutions have supported the many yearned-after cultural-artistic products and exchanges that the spaces have sought out consistently. Oddly enough as it may seem, Sábados en Chyg's (fonda-type restaurant), Programa Art Center (former Sumesa bodega) and La Panaderí­a (old Jewish bakery in la Condesa neighborhood) share a close relationship to the food service industry. The essence of their architectural universes can be linked to food production and marketing, leaving La Torre de los Vientos (Wind Tower sculpture) isolated in this sense. This calls for an interesting dialogue on how the works are perceived, especially in "in-situ" cases, drawing attention to the artist's investigation of the subtleties of each space's respective history.

II. Spaces/in-situ

"La Torre de los Vientos" (1995-present)/(Wind Tower), opened as a experimental project of infinite variety. Pedro Reyes, a local artist and curator, first squatted into the abandoned edifice in '95 and soon after began researching the structure's history. Gonzalo Fonseca, an ambitious Uruguayan sculptor and architect, molded the structure/sculpture in 1968 off the Periferico sideline, the monstrous highway familiar to just about every inhabitant of the city. When Reyes began to develop projects in the space, he immediately invited the work of Fonseca for presentation. Since that moment, Reyes has coordinated up to 30 in-situ projects from various countries, including artists/architects such as Tetris, Carlos Aguirre, Kenneth Bostock, Tsuyoshi Ozawa in collaboration with Pedro Reyes, Verena Grimm, Enrique Jezik, Mauricio Rocha, Robert Chambers, Terence Gower, Santiago Sierra, Gustavo Artigas, Borders & Boxes, Claudia Fernández, Nestor Quiñónez, Paulina Lasa, and most recently Miguel Calderón, amongst various others. "La Torre de los Vientos" is, as Reyes has noted, at once an architectural test-tube, time capsule, hermit, and totem at once, as Reyes has noted.[1] Each and every project has been envisioned and presented inside the space, with the sculpture in mind, never venturing outside of it. Projects arise, autonomously, feeding off of the futuristic, yet biblical-like entity, giving forth artistic processes never imagined before, or even after. Many artists have launched their projects by merely assimilating different angles of the sculpture. "Depending on the angle," Reyes writes, "the structure looks like a bunker, a cenotaph, a missile silo, a chimney, a dome, a granary, a lighthouse, an oven, a mosque, an observatory, a water tank, a ziggurat."[2]

[1] drawn from artist statement.
[2] Ibid

1 of 3 pages     next page

back to issues