Dwelling Poetically: Mexico City, a case study

21 Apr–24 Jun 2018

Main Exhibition Gallery

WIN a trip to Mexico!
To celebrate Mexico City and ACCA’s current exhibition, Dwelling Poetically: Mexico City, a case study, boutique travel specialists and ACCA partners, Abercrombie & Kent are offering you the chance to win an unforgettable 10-day experience for two on their 2018 Day of the Dead Festival small group hosted journey (27 October–5 November 2018), taking in Mexico City, Oaxaca and Mexico’s renowned Day of the Dead celebrations.
Click here to read more!


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Dwelling Poetically Podcasts>

Masterclass: Chris Sharp on Curating

ART+FILM Diego Ramirez: Towards the Umbral

Mexico City on film: the actor, the protagonist

ACCA is pleased to present Dwelling Poetically: Mexico City, a case study which considers the ways artists and cities mutually inform and transform one another. A city, it could be argued, is the sum of its portrayals – the more it is depicted, the more it enters the symbolic and global imaginary. One of the great cross-roads of North America, Mexico City has taken prominence not only as one of America’s most populous urban centres, and as Latin America’s strongest economy, but also as a node of rich and potent cultural production. This is in part thanks to a whole generation of artists from the ‘90s, which includes Francis Alÿs, Abraham Cruzvillegas and Melanie Smith, as well as a complex, burgeoning and much-discussed contemporary scene in the early twenty-first century. Authored by the city as much as they are authors of it, the work of these contemporary artists is crucial in the development and cultivation of Mexico City as a place, myth, metropolis and site of cultural production in the global imaginary.

Developed by guest curator Chris Sharp, assisted by Fabiola Talavera, Dwelling Poetically proposes a portrait of the Mexican capital through a selection of artists that live, have lived in, or frequently pass through, the city, all the while contributing to its composition. As a case study of one of the cultural capitals of the twenty-first century, the exhibition is intended as a portrait of the city itself – albeit partial and subjective – and a reflection upon the global megalopolis today. The exhibition does not seek to present an objective, historiographic representation of recent contemporary art from Mexico. Rather, Dwelling Poetically takes a literary and more cosmopolitan approach, focusing upon the objective conditions of the urban metropolis, and the subjective perspectives of its inhabitants, through the perception of artists whose works explore the material realities and psychogeographic intensities of the city itself.

Dwelling Poetically explores architectural forms emblematic of Mexican modernity and more improvised architectures and folk-art traditions which reflect the social spaces of the city and the detail and density of its cultural, commercial and libidinous economies. The exhibition reflects upon the work of artists whose practices move beyond the realm of the studio to engage directly with the fabric of the city and the contingencies of everyday life, and those whose works harness the materialities of the urban metropolis, drawing upon narrative, myth and readymade forms found in the urban environment, which are incorporated back into the studio and transformed through aesthetic and poetic means into new artistic compositions. The form of the exhibition expands and contracts, from macro to micro perspectives, and from the harsh light of day to the delirious glow of the nocturnal imagination, also reflecting cycles of collapse and renewal that characterise the ever-expanding and transforming metropolis.

Watch the exhibition view, made in collaboration with our partners Art Guide Australia.
Directed by Siân Darling. Cinematography by Ben Helweg.

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