Héctor Zamora

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey (MARCO)
Zuazua y Padre Jardón
September 1, 2017–January 7, 2018

Héctor Zamora, Ordem e Progresso (Order and Progress), 2017, video, color, sound, 3 minutes 4 seconds.

In “Re/Vuelta,” his first retrospective in Mexico, Héctor Zamora presents a selection of twenty-four works, including installations, architectural models, photographs, videos, a live performance, documentation of performances, and sculptures. The Spanish word revuelta refers to both a riot and a revolt, and—with the addition of the slash—to a “re/turn,” signifying a return for the artist to questions around labor that frequently emerge in his work and to his native country.

By focusing on manual production, Zamora here proffers an incisive critique of the changes brought on by the expansion of neoliberal capitalism. Particularly effective is his use of short videos to document public actions from the past, as in O Abuso da História (The Abuse of History), 2014, in which dozens of potted tropical plants are thrown out the windows of a colonial mansion to shatter and accumulate on the ground below, and Ordem e Progresso (Order and Progress), 2017, in which immigrant workers from former Portuguese colonies destroy wooden boats installed in a museum.

Though Zamora has exhibited internationally—including at the Venice Biennale in 2009—he is perhaps best known for his 2004 work Paracaidista (Urban Squatter), a parasitic structure that he built on the facade of the Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil in Mexico City. In the last room of this exhibition, we find the platforms and structures used for the performance work, Re/Vuelta, 2017, which featured dozens of local percussionists rhythmically mashing nieve de garrafa, a traditional Mexican ice cream. The piece’s carnivalesque atmosphere—characteristic of the show as a whole—is a reminder that a return to traditional materials and processes need not be staid or tired, but instead could be just the revolt required to upend market-based logic.

— John Pluecker