Andreja Brulc's Blog

MEXICO Project: Things Found … By Accident / Mauricio Cervantes

Posted in MEXICO by andrejabrulc on 16/01/2013

DSC_0090While walking along one of the streets of Oaxaca in the late afternoon on New Year’s Eve, I was captivated by the left image I saw unexpectedly behind an opened ironmongery door of a Colonial house. The door first led me into a small room and then, blinded by its darkness, through the second door into an overlit open space. The ‘room with no roof’ displayed a skeletal arrangement of household furniture – ironmongery beds rusty from aging and chairs painted in orange-yellow, both of which were decorated with dried marigolds. The whole composition, heavily contrasted by a play of light and shadow, made me feel as if I was looking into a painting by Caravaggio. When speaking to the guard, the display turned out to be a site-specific project by Mauricio Certvantes, called El sueño de Elpis. The artist used the derelict townhouse to base his art installation as an intervention of space using local materials and colours. DSC_0091 DSC_0117DSC_0107

From the artist’s website, I can see that the marigolds (cempasúchil) were cut fresh at first for the display that opened last Nov. The flower is famously used in Mexico for the Day of the Dead celebrations, so it was quite apparent from the start that the whole installation had very much to do with the passage of time – the beauty of death and transmutation (derelict house, decaying walls, rusty beds, marigolds that change their state from fresh to dry). This ‘art therapeutic’ garden contains, according to one article, other themes too: fear and hope, community and alchemy. DSC_0099 DSC_0130 DSC_0136 DSC_0109 DSC_0105DSC_0132

I was particularly interested by the drama of the whole space in terms of the light and shadow, the use of typical Oaxacan colour scheme and how these colours were cast into the space by the late afternoon light. DSC_0101 DSC_0119DSC_0123 DSC_0152 DSC_0148

One display particularly drew my attention –- the collapse of a pile of wooden beams into the architectural space. To me, the way the beams were displayed in a pile suggests a destructive force omnipresent in Oaxaca – the earthquakes – as they are felt continuously in the city. I experienced three in three months!DSC_0142

 

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