Galerie Perrotin has made a bold declaration of love for Mexico with a new group show, spanning all three of its Paris gallery spaces.
Amorously titled '¿Cómo te voy a olvidar?' ('How could I forget you?'), the exhibition is the brainchild of gallery director Peggy Leboeuf. Gallery owner Emmanuel Perrotin invited Leboeuf to create a show of her choice to celebrate her 20th year at the gallery. Having been charmed by her experiences of Mexico City during a visit to the Museo Tamayo in October 2014, Leboeuf decided on an homage to Mexico.
Leboeuf and co-curator Anissa Touati spent two years travelling through the country to learn about its contemporary art scene, meeting with curators, critics, museum and art school directors and the like. They also visited each of the 16 artists whose works now appear in the exhibition. They are a mix of emerging talents and established names, and represent a broad range of styles.
Bursting with colour, Yann Gerstberger's tapestries are made from both cotton yarn and reclaimed vinyl banner; a perfect metaphor for a country that is simultaneously contemporary and imbued in history.
The more subdued works of Ana Bidart, on the other hand, discover beauty in found objects that usually escape our attention – among them the inkwell and the passport.
Curvaceous and seductive, the stretched tights of Martin Soto Climent stand in marked contrast with the rugged, architectural assemblages of Gwladys Alonzo.
Méndez Blake extols the inspirational force of literature with sculptures that nod to French novelist Georges Perec, whereas José Davila awes with gravity-defying assemblages that suggest a deep appreciation of physics.
A few pieces tend toward pessimism. The viewer's eye is inevitably caught by Fritzia Irìzar's Phrygian cap – a symbol of the anti-colonialist movement in Latin America – rendered in chain mail as a commentary on the transience of freedom in a forgetful society. Likewise, in documentary-style videos showing serene, yet sinister landscapes, Edgardo Aragón laments the fate of indigenous peoples, ponders on ideological conflicts and mourns political dissenters who had been disappeared by the Mexican government in the 1970s.
The show nonetheless ends on a joyful note, with a pair of paintings called Yo te amp más ('I love you more'). Ariel Orozco took painted two canvases, one in gold and one in silver, stuck them together face-to-face and tore them apart after two weeks. Flecks of gold are layered on the silver canvas, and vice versa – just as the art worlds in and outside of Mexico have discovered each other, and both come out more vibrant and fascinating.