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Mexican art in Havana Biennial
The legitimate reaction and the clear resistance stance of an important sector of the mexican art in the face of the politics imposed by the current global order, the pressing need to revaluate and develop the ways through which art and curatorial work are expressed and the inquiry made by the Biennial team from that country in relation to the central premise of the event for 2009, garantees a lucid and current contribution from the Aztec country.

El maíz es nuestra vida (Corn is our live) and Bisagra (image) are the joint proposals expected for the Havana meeting.

Ibis Hernández Abascal, curator from the Wifredo Lam Center for the countries of Colombia, Brazil and Mexico, pointed out that El maíz... is born from the original idea of the Chicano curator Marietta Berstorff and has its first staging in the city of Oaxaca, a place where is believed that the first transgenic seeds imported to Mexico were detected.

The project comes in response to the phenomenon of the importance of transgenic corn and the products derived from it, commercialized at low prices that endangers the great variety of seeds that exist in America and attempts against the identity processes historically related to corn, such as its cultivation and ways of preparation and consumption, added Hernández.

One of the aims of the exhibition is directed towards creating a greater conscience in people, specially in women –who, since pre-Hispanic times, had the job to preserve the corn seeds and currently are mostly responsible for choosing what the family is to eat- on the need to acquire products that are derived from native corn and not from that treated genetically.

The specialist pointed out that the project –conceived by and for women- will include installations, video art, performance and the participation of a rap group, as well as a theoretical-practical workshop directed to female artists, artisans, students and housewives from the community and it will take place in the Visual Arts and Design Provincial Center from the City of Havana.

Violence, yet another of the main problems of consumer societies and one of the most recurrent topics in the artistic field, is the motive of Bisagra. Its conception of protest and aesthetic rupture assures its permanence in the coming Biennial.

This project, explained Ibis Hernández, is conceived as a joint exhibition, with curator work by Patricia Mendoza, director from the Graphic Arts Institute from Oaxaca (IAGO in Spanish) and its leit motiv is the political and social movement that took place in that city in the year 2006, where artists played an important role. The authors of the project aim to show how art manages to be inserted coherently into the processes of cultural, social and political resistance through new and old strategies.

When she referred herself to the project as a testimony of aesthetic rupture, Hernández explained that art from Oaxaca has been identified by its relationship to a pictorial and graphic tradition, related to pre-Hispanic myths, to the imagination and fantasy. Bisagra gets away from this and shows how local production is modified according to this movement of social and political resistance based on the facts that artists assume other practices such as media and audio-visual performance and graffiti, just to site some examples.

The exhibition, which will be shown in the Saint Francis of Assisi Convent, will also bring together, apart from the recently created work, pieces that date from the end of the 1960’s and the following decades, in order to demonstrate that the art generated stemming from the events of 2006 does not appear spontaneously, but as a result of a tradition of social commitment.

The use of new technologies stands out in almost all of the pieces of the individual Mexican creators invited to the Biennale. These are artists from different promotions and most of them are assisting for the first time to the Havana event. The curator from Lam for the Mexican part also talked about their proposals.

The Havana Biennial will be the first international event in which the young artist Idaid Rodríguez is to participate. His project, La fama perdida (The lost fame), recovers the memory of a neighborhood community that tends to get dispersed from the moment an industry is closed, a recurrent situation in times of neo-liberal globalization.

On the other hand, Artemio Narro will present his work Hollywoodpedia, based on a strategy of movie appropriation produced by Hollywood that have propagated, on a world scale, certain visual stereotypes.

Hernández also highlighted the participation of Irene Dubrousky, an artist who wonderfully articulates in her work techniques and traditional procedures that date from a long time in Latin America with some other that come out of the digital technology.

On the presence of the duet Nuevos Ricos, the curator declared that their work is related to pirate discography that is produced especially in the underdeveloped parts of the world and that is distributed in alternative circuits.

The members of this duet, Carlos Amorales and Julián Lede, will present an interactive proposal that brings together sound as well as visual elements. It is also expected, as part of it, a concert by the show man Silverio, added Hernández.

Other creators such as Marcela Díaz, with installations and Abraham Cruz Villegas, with a public art project that will circulate around the streets of Havana and which will interact with the public, will complete Mexico’s proposal for the Biennale.


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