“Chingaderas Sofisticadas”

Kohn Gallery
1227 North Highland Avenue
September 19, 2017–November 4, 2017

Alejandro Almanza Pereda, A Glass of Fruit, 2016, HD video, color, sound, 15 minutes.

There is a knowing wink in an exhibition titled “sophisticated shit.” Used by Spanish speakers when one has forgotten a particular word, the slang term chingadera inflects the practices on display here with jocularity, framing the work in a discourse of the not yet known. This reflects the show’s premise of bringing together the work of Guadalajara-based artists. Five of the nine were born elsewhere in Mexico or in the United States. Perhaps the collective efforts of these artists will change that ratio in the future.

Although some of the work bears a marked relationship with the craft traditions of the western Mexican city—ceramics and textiles—the organizers of this exhibition have gathered together a heterogeneous group of practices. Although not pointed out explicitly in any of the didactic material, references to horizon lines abound. There are the striped abstractions projected from Francisco Ugarte’s slideshow Diapositivas Abstractas 2, 2017, or the multitiered Jungled Up Gravity Sculpture 1, 2016, by ceramicist Milena Muzquiz. Alejandro Almanza Pereda’s entrancing video of fruit submerged in water, A Glass of Fruit, 2016, is another good example. In it, bunches of grapes, apples, and glassware are placed in an underwater tank split by a thick horizontal line of glass. Gravity seems to apply itself inconsistently; sometimes fruit drops from its perch in a submerged bowl onto this ad hoc horizon, and at other times it rises to the top, revealing the seemingly divided space to be continuous.

Andy Campbell