The exhibition Alighiero e Boetti e Mario e García Torres at Travesía Cuatro CDMX is a rebounded rumination between multiple personas,characters and subjects. Through his work, Boetti put into practice the concept of multiplicity, splitting his own identity into a series of opposing and contrasting entities. The artist presented himself as a hypothetical twin, he used a name that implied an association between two persons, and through his repeated journeys to Afghanistan he created a sort of hybrid, blending together the figures of a foreigner, a permanent tourist and a refugee.
Mario García Torres has dedicated a significant part of his work to establish a relationship between the multiple personasthat Boetti created. Since this collaboration took place after Boetti’s death in 1994, García Torres had to create peripheral routes in order to approach the Italian artist. Initially he established a fictitious correspondence, and later he carried out a detailed research on the One Hotel, the pseudo-company and operations center that Boetti established in Kabul after his first visit to the city.
Curiously, Boetti’s endeavors in Afghanistan and the subsequent research by García Torres are both framed by historical facts that surpass the artists’ capacities as individuals: the Soviet-Afghan War that started in 1978 and the “War on Terrorism” launched by the United States in 2001. These historical coincidences and Boetti’s biographical ambiguity inspired García Torres to replicate his methods and to address the notion of multiplicity and the constant splitting of identity. García Torres adopted a position of collaborator, extended twin and impartial researcher.
Time is what unites and separates both artists, and similar to identity, time can also be experimented as a multiple phenomenon subjected to detours and other manipulations. This is reflected in how Boetti predicted his own death and pointed out a specific date on July 11th, 2023; or in the way García Torres wrote his letters to the Italian artist in 2006 but dated them in 2001, the year in which the war started in the Asian country. This speculative permittivity reflects different ways to understand, measure and experiment time as a fluid and cyclic event.
The works presented by Mario García Torres suggest a series of temporary correlations which function as a poetic axis, connecting isolated moments, blending together past, present and future. This new “time” avoids conventional time measuring and permits the existence of multiples time units. Life itself becomes a measurement tool: bygone life, life ahead to be lived, imagined life, cancelled life. The duration of historical events experimented through intimacy. The new life of artworks which have become independent from the life of their author. With these works is evident that García Torres has learned to use Boetti’s techniques: knowing how to erase himself, to weave together myths and to establish connections between divided ghosts. This exhibition approaches one of the main motives behind artistic creation: wanting to take a walk through the mind of another person.
The more intense life is, the more essential and revealing is time. E.M. Cioran
Travesía Cuatro presents Gonzalo Lebrija’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery, entitled Piales (La suerte de detener el tiempo) [Lariat (The Chance of Stopping Time)]. This project is based on the Charrería, a practice that has its origins in farm work and ranching, and that developed into a sport following the agrarian reform of the early 20th century. It is the national sport of Mexico and is listed by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
One of the events of the Charrería is called piales en el lienzo, in which a mare must be heeled by throwing a lariat to catch its hind legs. The event is a beautiful combination of horsemanship and roping skills. As in earlier projects, Lebrija uses the most popular elements of Mexican culture to delve into, disrupt and readjust the meaning of time and perpetuity.
In this project’s double channel video and a series of photographs, Lebrija brings together two elements he has used in earlier works: smoke (The Milky Way, 2017, National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana) and the gure of the charro [cowboy] (Life is worth nothing, 2012, Travesía Cuatro Madrid). These are familiar elements from the artist’s life which he returns to repeatedly, but always affording them new content and poetry.
In this fable, the smartly-dressed charro appears mounted on his horse, projecting the self-con dence characteristic of one who is about to carry out a victorious action. Perched up high on his horse, smelling of earth, the charro deploys his masculinity as he catches the mare’s legs in a single movement. By rubbing the rope against the saddle, an action known as chorrear la reata, smoke is created and with it, all of the senses are activated: compassion, victory, tradition, sensuality, temperance, solidity and balance.
Lebrija’s images smell of burnt time, a time that longs for the end of social conventionalisms and patriarchy. This is quite an ambitious battle for Mexican society. Throughout his career, the artist has created images and actions that turn on the concept of time. He plays with time, and does everything possible to slow it down, give each minute a few more seconds, and fend off the related acceleration of time that is imposed by the power of the masses. He opens up the chance for new rhythms, and introduces us into a kind of transcendental meditation that brings us closer to a spiritual, mystical experience.
Lebrija is always teetering between a constant effort to slow down life and an intense pursuit of perpetuity. The cadence of the images we see in the lm allows us to have a deep experience of the moment, which also brings us closer to timelessness. And altogether, this drives us into the unconscious desire to slow down our progress towards the inevitable.
In this combat no one is victorious, only time and its passage.
BIENES RAÍCES is an exhibition shaped by a series of sequenced environments, each room of the gallery works as an autonomous dramatic system. The drama that concerns the included artworks involves the narration of processes which have already finished, are currently taking place or have been postponed. The fossilization of an obsolete object; watching the grass grow; the presence of an undesirable guest; the invocation of everyday gods.
The exhibition space is populated by waste, byproducts and collateral effects generated by the relationship between desire and private property. This relationship (both in its romantic and practical aspects) requires of intentions in order to translate itself into concrete actions. The narrative thread that runs across the exhibition approaches the materialization of intentions into a variety of objects, readapted materials and attitudes that influence the way in which reality becomes comprehensible and useful. What is the background of plasticized reality?
The exhibition can be considered as a catalogue of highly self-aware intentions. Intentionality is often a blurry subject, but when it becomes clear we are allowed to witness the actual seriousness of a specific situation. That’s when the world shows its white and sharp teeth. When space transforms into a prismatic dimension and it’s difficult to discern one’s location. Is it a lobby, a sublet apartment, a hallway, a loft or a waiting room? Identity also becomes a treacherous subject. Am I a client, a spectator, an agent, an owner, a visitor or an actor? Even though we make constant reference to destiny, maybe destiny doesn’t really need us, maybe human-kind is just another stage in the geological epic poem.
While moving around indefinite space: entering a house, passing along a building, sitting on a concrete bench; these actions imply a direct contact with the ghosts of past intentions. In their origin they achieved to materialize, and some of them have remained. This history is embodied while touching a doorknob, pressing a button or holding on to a banister. The subject leaves a negative trail of usage, while absorbing the ghost-particles of previous desire. These objects respond to the body in a useful way and also resist to updated formats of ergonomics. Shape and form are bounced back and forth towards infinity, from human to object. This ricocheting motion is what eventually produces familiarity.
The artists included in the exhibition use different methods in order to create a short-term but equally potent familiarity. The residential past of the house where the gallery is located serves as raw matter for conducting an alchemical transformation: reanimating past events and incorporating novel gestures. This cohabitation of different timelines renders a density of rejected possibilities, and simultaneously visualizes new alternatives on the meaning of inhabiting.