Mirror maze: our reflections on Mexico City’s Zona Maco art fair
The preview of the 12th edition of the annual Zona Maco contemporary art fair kicked off yesterday at Mexico City’s Centro Banamex convention centre with a host of eye-raising newcomers like Gagosian Gallery and Venus Over Manhattan (which made its debut with an elegant curation of Calder mobiles and stabiles); while heavy hitters like David Zwirner and London’s Lisson Gallery are coming back for more after recent debuts.
While the hometown galleries seemed to offer more provocatively curated offerings – with internationals playing their hits – one theme seemed to tie everyone together: transparency and reflection, and not just the overabundance of Anish Kapoor concave and convex mirrors. You couldn’t seem to walk down an aisle without spotting works in glass, mirror, or both in every other booth. Jose Dávila got the ball rolling with his glass pane, mirrored glass sphere, and ratchet strap sculpture, Por definir, at Galeria OMR’s top notch booth, which also had Squaring the Circle, a hanging, flocked aluminum sculpture (backed by a mirror) from the London-based collective Troika, which morphed between a square, circle and suspended line drawing depending on your viewing perspective.
Peter Zimmermann showed a multi-hued resin pour on canvas at Galeria Filomena Soares’ booth just down the way from Tom Burr’s glassy polished and printed stainless steel cubes – respectively grip eight, grip nine, and grip ten – at Bortolami Gallery. Josephine Meckseper’s 2014 mixed media vitrine, The Story of Mankind, in Timothy Taylor’s booth seemed demure around the corner from the grand-standing pyramid of infinity mirror drum kits by Iván Navarro at Paul Kasmin Gallery or Daniel Buren’s glitzy MDF, auto paint, and mirrored wall installation at Galería Hilario Galguera.
’When the reflections approach slickness I’m not so sure about the work,’ says Jose Kuri, of Kurimanzutto, which showed a sculpture by Fernando Ortega hewn from a piece of found glass (fitted with five fluttering feathers from birds that fly around the artist’s garden), which he likes ’because the glass is freestanding and it’s about a humble equilibrium’. He was also a fan of the pink and yellow coloured mirrors by Michelangelo Pistoletto, a master of the reflective medium, at Galleria Continua.
’Everyone seems to love selfies right now, and mirrors are always neat and now the art world wants to be neat,’ says Laura Resendiz of Mexico City’s Anonymous Gallery, which had a playful multi-level DIY booth in the Humberto Moro-curated ’New Proposals’ section. The yellow booth was designed by Puerto Rican artist Radames ’Juni’ Figueroa, who showed his soccer ball vases and paintings. Later in the week LA artist Alex Becerra will add some drawings and the booth will play host to a rock concert and an experimental dance troupe. ’We had a solo show with Pryce Lee that was all circle mirrors, but they all had bullets in the middle,’ Resendiz says.
Another homegrown approach to this trend was the Zona Maco Sur booth of Chicago’s Carrie Secrist Gallery, where Brooklyn-based artist Dannielle Tegeder sourced a bunch of local glass (and some yellow Japanese radiation glass) which she cut and sandblasted for her site-specific installation that responded to the architecture of the city, fair, and booth. ’A lot of her installations are made of wood,’ says gallery director Britton Bertran. ’But she just responded to the glass down here and brought some stained glass pieces from a previous installation in Chicago.’
A more subtle take on reflection was in the Sur booth of ltd los angeles, where Mexican artist Debora Delmar Corp. (’incorporated’ because her work focuses on commercialism) presented a series of plaster casts of fake Hermès Birkin bags (dyed with powdered fruit juice) that were displayed atop plush robes and surrounded by juice-powdered dust sheets that she turned into canvases and wrapped in plastic.
’Most people can’t afford Berkin bags and most people can’t afford art, so I wanted to play with this idea of shininess and reflection,’ says Delmar, who told a story about a well-heeled woman she’d seen at Maco a couple years ago who was commenting that she had to look at herself closer when she caught her reflection, while looking at Jill Magid’s rearview mirror sculptures, which referenced violence and fatality. Those darker themes didn’t deter the self-gazing collector, notes Delmard, adding, ’She bought them.’