Sofia Hernandez Chong Cuy

Artforum International, December 2012 | Go to article overview

Sofia Hernandez Chong Cuy


1 "EDIFICIO METALICO " (TEOR/ETICA, SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA; CURATED BY INT! GUERRERO) Closed for months following the death of its founder, Virginia Perez-Ratton, this key Central American cultural space reopened in February, to the pleasure of all, with an international group exhibition. Taking inspiration from the so-called Metallic Building (an early example of prefab architecture, shipped from Belgium to San Jose in the nineteenth century), TEOR/eTica's new artistic director, Guerrero, gathered artworks and materials from the Americas, Africa, and elsewhere, ambitiously illuminating tropical modernity's contested fortunes and competing temporalities.

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2 TANIA PEREZ CORDOVA (PROYECTOS MONCLOVA, MEXICO CITY) With her first solo exhibition at the gallery Proyectos Monclova, Perez Cordova elucidated the infrathin character of intimacy. For an inkjet print, the artist superimposed landscape images from Flickr, and to create a series of small sculptures, she called a model to her studio to recline on orbs and slices of a malleable material made from a combination of alginate and pigments, allowing bodily impressions to literally shape the work. Sustaining a complex syntax in which the handmade met the administered, and objects were construed as unfolding, interrelated events, Perez Cordova proved herself one of the young artists whose work is defining a fresh--and much-needed--emerging art scene in Mexico.

3 FERNANDA LAGUNA, CONTROL 0 NO CONTROL (MANSALVA) Though not well known outside her native Argentina, Laguna is undoubtedly one of the most interesting visual artists in the Americas, and this book proves that she is also one of its most interesting poets. Her written works revolve around affection--not passion, but caring--while her direct and unstudied language is infused with pop-culture references, indefatigably but effortlessly showing beauty in everyday moments rather than in lyrical or rhapsodic meditations.

4 LEON ILSON (IBERE CAMARGO FOUNDATION, PORTO ALEGRE, BRAZIL; CURATED BY BITU CASSUNDE AND RICARDO RESENDE) In the 1980s, new artistic sensibilities, practices, and communities emerged in profusion across Brazil's cultural landscape. Jose Leonilson Bezerra Dias, known as Leonilson, was among the artists who gained recognition, but his life was cut short by AIDS--he died in 1993, at thirty-six--and critical attention turned elsewhere. This elegant retrospective brought together a large selection of the artist's fragile, minimal works--mainly precise ink drawings or embroidery on paper or fabric, each figuring a character or two, a landscape, a brief poem, or a combination of these. Presenting his illustrations for the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo from the early '90s along with his diaries and notebooks, the show made clear that the artist, however introverted his work may appear, was an active participant in the public sphere and in shaping the representations that animate it.

5 JUAN JOSE GURROLA (HOUSE OF GAGA, MEXICO CITY) A commercial gallery with the spirit of an alternative space, Gaga presented this posthumous exhibition as a "live archive." In an on-site work space, visitors perused materials related to Gurrola's activities in performance, music, and film, while researchers went about preparing a catalogue raisonne. Those who possessed works by Gurrola (1935-2007) were invited to bring them in to be registered, generating vital knowledge about the practice of this underknown, discipline-hopping artist.

6 JUAN PABLO GARZA (AL BORDE, MARA-CAIBO, VENEZUELA) For this exhibition, Garza, one of the founders of the dynamic new artist-run space Al Borde, carefully arranged washed-out photos and Polaroids drawn from family albums, darkroom trays painted in pastel tones, and a variety of discarded objects, from a friend's unfinished painting to a tree branch. …

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