Critics’ Picks

Cynthia Gutiérrez, Estratos I, 2019, ceramics, wood, lacquer, 39 2/5" diameter.

Mexico City

Cynthia Gutiérrez

Proyecto Paralelo
Alfonso Reyes 58 Col. Condesa
February 5–March 16, 2019

A resistance to cultural oblivion and a fascination with the shifts and dispersals of heritage are the major themes of Cynthia Gutiérrez’s beautifully titled exhibition “No para siempre en la tierra,” which may translate, albeit with a subsequent loss of empathic charge, as “Not Forever on Earth.” The show develops the artist’s interest in Mexican tapestry traditions, a concern she took on in 2017’s Venice Biennial, where she filled a room with whimsical sculptures inspired by the waist loom practice of Oaxacan weavers. The works here are less colorful but similarly tap into local modes of production that defy homogenization. For the series “Universo transferido,” 2018, for instance, the artist has placed bronze casts of loom arrangements atop white pedestals. Unique copies that thwart standardization, they link the act of weaving to that of writing, therefore tethering performance to speech.

For another series, “Estratos,” 2019, the artist has wedged ceramic fragments made to look like the rubble of ancient relics into neat, white plinths made of lacquer. A playful yet sober rebelliousness is characteristic of Gutiérrez’s work, and is most visible in Alusiones I, 2018, where a caption for an image of a quetzal is placed on a large wool tapestry whose middle is a passage of delicate weft. As a whole, the surface looks like a very hazy, impractical map. A framed print of a text, Transferencias, 2019, demands a closer read and brings forward Gutiérrez’s perception of historical accounts as nothing more than hearsay, if not a blurry dream.