Aleksandra Mir: Galerie Laurent Godin
Rian, Jeff, Artforum International
For her first solo exhibition in Paris, Aleksandra Mir--Polish-born, a Swedish citizen, and a New York City resident since 1989--festooned Galerie Laurent Godin with every variety of Mexican kitsch: paper flowers, salad bowls of plastic fruit, bread, and alphabet letters; a skeleton in a suit seated in front of a laptop; cacti painted on the wall; hanging bird cages with little bird skeletons; about a dozen pasted images of the defunct Concorde supersonic jet over headshots of Che Guevara; floral designs in kindergarten colors; found posters; collages of magazine pictures; notebook pages outlining a video; various versions of the phrase YO NO HABLO ESPANOL (I don't speak Spanish); and a circular sign painting, "Club Nocturn, Live Music," writ large, in Spanish, in front of a paint-dabbed black felt curtain. Inside was projected a fifty-five-minute documentary-style video Organized Movement, which Mir had made during a monthlong artist residence in Mexico City in May 2004. She was among twenty international artists invited by Perros Negros (Black Dogs), organizers of the exhibition "Localismos," which offered an outsider's look at the effects of globalization on the historic center of Mexico City. Mir showed the results of that project in Paris.
The fake folklore was installed in a way reminiscent of the scatter art of Karen Kilimnik or of Claude Leveque's wilder, atmospheric installations. By including images of Che and of the Concorde, Mir conveyed Mexico's unresolved struggles with complicated Central American politics and the pressures of capitalism. But her moderately interesting amateur video, ostensibly about her attempts to reach out to Mexican locals, focused on her inability to speak Spanish and on her decision to take various dance classes in order to use dance's "organized movement" to communicate. With a running voice-over, she cut back and forth between color and black-and-white, interior, exterior, and day and night shots, showing encounters with people on the street, disappointing performances as a nonetheless contented dancer, and talks with fellow artists. …