Critics’ Picks

Antonio Vega Macotela, Exchange 63: shake hands with all the neighbors of “De La Mora,” and in exchange the inmate narrates to the artist a basketball match as concrete poetry, 2007, ink on paper, 17 x 11".

Antonio Vega Macotela, Exchange 63: shake hands with all the neighbors of “De La Mora,” and in exchange the inmate narrates to the artist a basketball match as concrete poetry, 2007, ink on paper, 17 x 11".

Mexico City

Presuntos Culpables

Museo de Arte Moderno Mexico
Paseo de la Reforma y Gandhi Bosque de Chapultepec
April 3–November 15, 2009

Presuntos Culpables” (Alleged Culprits) is a group exhibition of artworks—photographs, installations, videos, objects, and drawings—that explore confinement in prison. Pericles Lavat’s series, titled “Aquí Estuvo Su Padre Putos” (Your Father Waz Here Motha’fuckers), 2002, consists of interior shots of an abandoned prison. By depicting remains of objects and decorations that were left inside cells, the pictures evince the identity and language codes of the spaces’ inhabitants. In Time Divisa, 2006–2009, Antonio Vega Macotela explores time as a container of actions through 365 exchanges with prisoners of Santa Marta Acatitla—one of the largest and most overpopulated jails in Mexico City. On a specific date and time in the outside world, the artist performed tasks for the inmates, whether by visiting their kids or friends or simply by traveling to specific places. In exchange, the prisoners were asked to document actions requested by the artist. Santiago Sierra’s installation, titled Room of 9 Square Meters, 2004, invites visitors to experience the feeling of confinement in a small space where they can remain from half an hour to four hours, depending on dice rolled by a guard. Overall, the pieces in this exhibition attempt to make visible the invisibility of reclusion, through gestures that interweave social and intimate aspects. Here, art works as a testimony to a territory too often hidden from public view.