Critics’ Picks

View of “Mexico: Expected/Unexpected,” 2008. From left: Rivane Neuenschwander, Canteiros (Conversations and Constructions), 2006; Gabriel Orozco, Soccer Ball 2, 2002; Gabriel Orozco, Cuadro Fertile (Fertile Table), 2004; Lygia Clark, Bicho (Man), 1960.

View of “Mexico: Expected/Unexpected,” 2008. From left: Rivane Neuenschwander, Canteiros (Conversations and Constructions), 2006; Gabriel Orozco, Soccer Ball 2, 2002; Gabriel Orozco, Cuadro Fertile (Fertile Table), 2004; Lygia Clark, Bicho (Man), 1960.

Paris

“Mexico: Expected/Unexpected"

La Maison Rouge
10, Boulevard de la Bastille
October 26, 2008–January 18, 2009

Geometry as “an instrument of awareness,” to quote Gabriel Orozco, and the tension intrinsic to its synthesis of the constructed and the organic, are the focal points of “Mexico: Expected/Unexpected,” which features works from Isabel and Agustín Coppel’s collection. Lygia Clark’s Constructivist Bicho, 1960, at first seems simply to be a three-dimensional play with fractals, but on closer examination it turns out to be a small beast with one wing outstretched, perched in limbo between the primordial and the futuristic. Loving or raping, resuscitating or violating, Ana Mendieta’s soft body presses against the bony angles of a skeleton in the photograph On Giving Life, 1975. In Hélio Oiticica’s Metasquema 214 (Metastructure 214), 1957, and Metasquema 354 (Metastructure 354), 1958, vibrating grids and wandering rhombuses in gouache on paper resonate with the artist’s belief that “absolute plasticity and Suprematism are drives toward life,” always leading back to a rediscovery of the body. In Francis Alÿs’s video Zocalo, 1999, named for Mexico City’s central plaza, pedestrians seeking shade spontaneously line up in the shadow of a flagpole. Even Maurizio Cattelan’s Untitled (Sitting Donkey, Trento), 2004, facing the corner, seems eager to exhibit the clean black cross on its back, a fur marking that follows the lines of its spine and shoulders. In Tatiana Trouvé’s installation from her ongoing series “Bureau d’activités implicites (BAI)” (Bureau of Implicit Activities), begun in 1997, space expands and contracts with the exchanges between the figures that inhabit it, as reflected in mirrors. Likewise, geometry is a dialectical system that interlaces the concrete and the abstract, the ideal and the material, the practical and the absurd: theorems, postulates, and axioms drawn from intuitions of the expected, so as to derive the unforeseen.