Marcela Quiroz

  • The 2018 Material Art Fair in Mexico City, with scaffolding by the architecture firm APRDELESP. (Photo: P.J. Rountree and Material Art Fair)
    diary February 19, 2018

    Fair and Unfair

    MEXICO CITY’S ZONA MACO has been resting on its laurels for quite a while. The fifteenth edition, which ran from February 7 to February 11, has become, like many art fairs, lethargic—a state that can easily lead to death. Because of this, I’m eager to pinpoint the subtler but more engaging attractions from inside and, of course, outside the fair.

    A satisfyingly loaded point within the supersaturated image carnival that is Zona Maco was its “Sur” section, curated by Brazilian Kiki Mazzucchelli. In this area was Galerie Jerome Poggi’s presentation of Babi Badalov. The artist created banners made

  • View of “Javier Barrios and Joaquín Segura,” 2017. Wall: Untitled, 2017. Floor: Autosuficiencia: Ejercicios de balance (Selfsufficiency: Balance Exercises), 2017. Photo: Joaquín Segura.

    Javier Barrios and Joaquín Segura

    Tres Golpes” (Three Blows) was a pertinent co-creation by two Mexican artists, Javier Barrios and Joaquín Segura, working together for the first time. Commissioned by Paulina Ascencio, the curatorial director of the recently inaugurated Fundación Calosa, their collaboration made for an inaugural exhibition that suggests the foundation has a solid, purposeful future. The founders of Calosa are to be applauded for this effort to bring contemporary art (with a program of discussions, workshops, residencies, and so on, as well as a library) to a public beyond Mexico City—in this case a

  • Gabriel de la Mora, Cristales de inevidencia (Glass Slides of Nonevidence), 2014, glass stereoscopic slides, cardboard box, 4 1/4 x 4 1/4 x 1 3/4". From “Formasobrefondo.”


    The duality of figure and ground is a basic concept: necessary to visual perception, and seemingly automatically comprehensible. But what can contemporary art still do with the notion? With work by eighteen diverse artists, “Formasobrefondo” (Figureonground), curated by Willy Kautz, formerly of the Museo Tamayo, presented subtle and intelligent responses to such a seemingly simple question, illuminating the perceptual and cognitive variables in the entire unseen universe that exists behind these three simple words: figure on ground.

    The invention of pictorial perspective radically changed the

  • View of “Alejandro Paz,” 2017. Photo: Luis Gallardo.

    Alejandro Paz

    LIGA is a nonprofit organization that realizes four exhibitions a year along with a series of talks and workshops. Its focus is the relationship between architecture and art. Paradoxically, the gallery’s physical space is extremely limited—a challenge LIGA has met with transcendental results by commissioning on-site works from diverse artists and architects during its six years of operation. But in conceptual and poetic weight, none of the works presented here so far has surpassed the installation/performance currently on view, in which the Guatemalan architect Alejandro Paz has used

  • View of “Pablo Vargas Lugo,” 2017. From left: Vaina (Eumorpha fasciatus) (A) (Sheath [Eumorpha fasciatus] [A]), 2016; Ovipositor, 2017. Photo: Ramiro Chaves.

    Pablo Vargas Lugo

    Pablo Vargas Lugo Pablo Vargas Lugo’s recent exhibition “Ovipositor” surprisingly paralleled, whether intentionally or not, certain concepts integral to the poststructuralist thought of Jacques Derrida—dissemination and fertility, nakedness and its inescapable vulnerability, presupposed presence and factual appearance. Let’s begin with puncture, which the French philosopher used to denote penetration as a provoked action, as well as living, killing, and hiding. Derrida reflected on the notion of puncturing—an act that is the dialogic, biological, and symbolic center of “Ovipositor.”

  • Ximena Garrido-Lecca, Botanic Insurgencies: Phaseolus lunatus (detail), 2017, mixed media, dimensions variable.
    picks April 03, 2017

    Ximena Garrido-Lecca

    For her latest exhibition, Peruvian artist Ximena Garrido-Lecca has turned the gallery into a botany lab. A wooden structure that climbs up three walls like bleachers supports bean plants (grown and nurtured for five months) and an irrigation system made of clay inside a room with a regulated temperature and water supply. The exhibition’s subtitle, “Phaseolus lunatus,” references this species of bean, which dates back to pre-Hispanic times. On a small table facing the botanical structure, a copy of an Edict Against Idolatry (written in 1621) regarding the native tradition of worshiping plants

  • View of “Miguel Fernández de Castro,” 2016. Floor: Tiempo lamido (Licked Time), 2016. Wall, from left: Sásabe #14, 2015; Sásabe #29, 2016; Sásabe #18, 2011–16.

    Miguel Fernández de Castro

    An inexplicable insecurity; an empty uncertainty; a strange, ineffable sensation resembling desire—these were the responses triggered in those who entered “NEGRO, NEGRO” (Black, Black), the most recent solo exhibition by Miguel Fernández de Castro. The visitor’s gaze encountered exceedingly smooth domesticated surfaces of things seen and yet not seen: sixteen photographic images and a floor covered with thirty-five semicubic rocks made of condensed minerals (Tiempo lamido [Licked Time], 2016) that had been perforated into whimsical shapes. Fernández de Castro’s work emerges from a familiarity

  • Miguel Fernández de Castro, Piedra supuesta del antopoceno (Supposed Anthropocene Stone), 2015, C-print, 26 × 39 3/8".

    Miguel Fernández de Castro

    Jales (from the Nahuatl word halli, which means “earth”) is the term geologists and mining engineers use to refer to the piles of stones resulting from the explosions used to begin excavation on a mine. For the past three years, Miguel Fernández de Castro has been quietly looking for such traces in old expedition logs and other documents of archaeological explorations of northern Mexico. These topographic notes on wild and largely unfertile lands would often document what sorts of rocks were found on and under the surface of these territories, thereby establishing their potential commercial

  • Tony Orrico, Untitled (mask), 2015, Sri Lankan graphite, porcupine quills, starfish, tape, solder, paper clips, seashell, chicken bones, beads, barro negro, semen, hair, 10 1/4 × 7 × 13".

    Tony Orrico

    Tony Orrico’s work is an exploration of the infinite and finite dimensions that inhabit our body—both its maximum potentials and its frail and perishable reality. His performative drawings are configured by countless graphite traces. This exhibition, “Movement Toward 
Definition,” focused on the American artist’s recent work, although two 2011 works from his “Penwald” series, 2009–, were also included to establish some context for his current practice.

    Waning (Hyde Park, Arts Center, Chicago, IL), 2013, is a mountain-like figure drawn in graphite on a sheet covering almost an entire wall. The

  • Vida Yovanovich, Sálix Babilonica (Salix Babylonic), 2011, color, sound. Installation view.
    picks August 21, 2014

    Vida Yovanovich

    In Vida Yovanovich’s latest exhibition, “Grita en silencio/Memoria que se borra” (Shout in Silence/Memory That Vanishes), eight video-and-sound installations deal with the atrocious fate of the victims at Mauthausen, one of the deadliest concentration camps of World War II. Within a muted landscape and seemingly inhospitable architecture, Yovanovich creates a view into a dense yet empty context. Certain that we can only intend to approach the unfathomable if experienced as temporal duration, her almost deathly still films hold watch, capturing a place beyond any possible narrative.

    Over the course

  • Jorge Macchi, Cover 04, 2012, oil on canvas, 6' 4 3/4“ x 10' 2”.

    Jorge Macchi

    One of the first works I ever encountered by Jorge Macchi was Vidas Paralelas (Parallel Lives), 1998, in which two rectangular pieces of glass with almost identical patterns of cracks are placed next to one another on a simple white platform. The broken pieces of glass exuded a timid but irrefutable silence from within the edges of their fragmentation. There seemed to be a sort of premonition hidden in the temporal disjunction between the two panes, each of which condensed the obscure singularity of its originary event. One of the two panes had actually experienced the “original rupture,” a

  • View of “A Place in Two Dimensions,” 2014.
    picks February 01, 2014

    “A Place in Two Dimensions”

    For “A Place in Two Dimensions”—the inaugural exhibition at the institution’s new space—Patrick Charpenel has juxtaposed fifty works from the collection of Eugenio López Alonso with eight works by Fred Sandback. The topics that run through the exhibition bind the works in an elusive yet unwavering fashion. In Francis Alÿs’s drawings “In a Given Situation,” 2010, geometric forms and language rendered in soft colors evoke displacement and fragmentation, while Peter Fischli and David Weiss’s series “Equilibres,” 1984–86, probe issues of balance and time. Other topics that are addressed include how