MUSEOLOGICAL COLLABORATIONS

The XIII FEMSA Biennial’s program of museological collaborations uses montaje and display to propose a collaborative process with the museums of Zacatecas. This can be achieved through a variety of strategies, such as, for example, the selection of a historical work by a curator in order to mount it in relation to the museum’s reserves, the redistribution of museum collections, the reworking of museum texts with the purpose of activating new readings, or through the commissioning of artworks. This program will be carried out in numerous venues within the Zacatecan cultural corridor in the following exhibitions:

 

Francisco Goitia

This exhibition will review the work of Zacatecan artist Francisco Goitia (1882-1960), seeking to actualize some of the intentions and ideas behind his work. Goita was a singular artist who fashioned his character in the manner of an ascetic or mystic, a decision that he related to a radical progressive position. In his works, made clear in pieces such as Paisaje de Zacatecas con ahorcado, Goitia sought to develop a critical depiction of reality that would make the viewer uncomfortable. As he mentioned on several occasions, Goitia longed for his work to be acquired by certain dominant social groups specifically politicians or the upper bourgeoisie—so that his paintings would act as constant reminders of the violence and inequality in the country. Works such as his series of landscapes in Zacatecas, or those of the Hacienda de Santa Mónica, are of prime importance as historical references in this exhibition.

Popular Arts

Since the revolution in 1910, the country’s so called popular arts have been projected and administered by the government as an element of national identity, attempting to demonstrate a sort of innate creativity of the Mexican people. Over time, however, the country’s craft arts production has focused more on the tourism industry than on national consumption. At the same time, the permanence of these practices justifies the continuity of the country’s vernacular traditions while it irreparably restricts the artisans to their poor living conditions.

This exhibition seeks to move away from themes of national identity commonly addressed in the study of craft traditions. Instead, it tries to see and study them in terms of Ernest Bloch’s (1880-1959) notions of “nonsynchronous contradiction” and “synchronous contradiction.” In this way, the project explores the critical and radical potential that the popular arts embody vis-à-vis the rhythms, forms, and methods of contemporary current artistic production.


ABSTRACTIONS

This section of the museological collaborations consists of four projects that will take place in the Museum of Abstract Art Manuel Felguérez de Zacatecas.

Multiple Space

This project seeks to revive and update Multiple Space, one of the most impressive research projects carried out by Manuel Felguérez in the seventies. The project was based on a combination of geometric forms, cold and warm palettes, and different supports: painting, sculpture, graphics, and public art. Multiple Space was a project supported by a
broad theoretical framework that addressed questions that range from the phenomenological, taken up in the work of Rudolf Arnheim, to the interpretive, explored in Umberto Eco’s writings. This series of works also served as an antecedent to Felguérez’s later project The Aesthetic Machine, the first inquiry by a Mexican artist that connected the artistic terrain with the field of cybernetics.

Geometries

Since the seventies, art that incorporates geometric solutions in Latin America has been viewed as a common theme in articulating a kind of regional aesthetic. In Mexico, this tendency can be seen in the introduction and development of the term geometrism. This position has continued to be relevant for theorists and historians of Latin American art focussing on art starting in the nineteenth century. In many of these investigations and curatorial exercises, however, Mexican production has been absent. This project seeks to rectify this absence by establishing a dialogue between Mexican artists and those from other countries in the region. In the same vein, it seeks to broaden the discussion on geometry in nineteenth-and twentieth-century Latin American art, including cases that signal their lyrical and critical use, among other questions.

Gestures

One effect of the emphasis placed on geometric abstraction in the study of Latin American art since in the 1970s has been an absence of investigations into gestural, lyrical, or informal abstraction throughout the region. This exhibition seeks to shine a light on this legacy of Latin American modern art by examining works from the middle of the last century to the present day.

Osaka 70

This project revisits the history of the Mexican pavilion at the Expo ’70 world’s fair in Osaka, Japan. On this occasion, Fernando Gamboa (1909-1990) commissioned nine painters (Lilia Carrillo, Gilberto Aceves Navarro, Arnaldo Coen, Francisco Corzas, Manuel Felguérez, Fernando García Ponce, Francisco Icaza, Brian Nissen, and Vlady) to produce large-scale paintings that could be mounted as transportable murals. Gamboa sought to present a new muralism that, with a critical sensibility, separated itself from the realism and figuration of the Mexican School of Painting. This exhibition project will examine this initiative, as well as the little-known history of these murals, the artists who were invited to make them, their presentation in Japan in 1970, and what became of them after the event.


BAROQUE ART

This project seeks to investigate and update the critical understanding of Mexican baroque art, particularly that of the colonial period, for which the city of Zacatecas is known. Rather than focus on the baroque’s religious aspects, the exhibition will seek to show the importance of its formal qualities, among them games of perspectives, narrative logic, and
optical tricks. Although generally forgotten, the art of the baroque, like its contemporary artistic practices, challenged and deconstructed isolated categories and genres, mixing and interacting with different media.


GRAPHIC WORKS AND DRAWINGS

There is a long tradition of graphic production in Zacatecas, and one of the most extensive collections of these print works is held at the Museo Pedro Coronel. This project, conceived by Caroline Montenat, will review this collection by opening a dialogue between these historical works and examples from contemporary practices.


 

We Have Never Been Contemporary

The former Temple of San Agustín will be the site of an exhibition that will bring together several artists whose work explores the hybrid formations between the historical and the contemporary, a central axis of the XIII FEMSA Biennial. Under the broad concept of deformalism, the exhibition will join together distinct formal approaches to the historical by addressing issues of modern abstraction, baroque iconology, and popular arts. In this way, the exhibition will relate to and echo with the different projects that will be presented in other locations. This allusion to a multiplicity of spaces seeks to establish a link with some of the ideas behind Felguérez’s notion of Multiple Space.