Jonathan Hernández at kurimanzutto

Left: installation view of Sonora 128, 2016. Right: Araki, qARADISE. Courtesy of the artist and Kurimanzutto, Mexico City, 2016. Photo: PJ Rountree.

Jonathan Hernández
Asset Forfeiture

September 22–October 29, 2016

kurimanzutto
Gob. Rafael Rebollar 94
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec
11850 Mexico
Hours
: Tuesday–Thursday 11am–6pm,
Friday–Saturday 11am–4pm

T +52 55 5256 2408

www.kurimanzutto.com

Over the course of two years, Jonathan Hernández attended public auctions in Mexico, acquiring a series of assets that had been seized by the authorities from organized crime. These acquisitions later became primary material for the works included in Asset Forfeiture, Hernandez’s third exhibition at kurimanzutto. In dissecting this inventory he reflects on the turbulent reality of contemporary Mexico and the pressing political, economic, social and cultural implications. A portrait of the national landscape emerges from tracing the movement of these objects; between their coming and going, questions arise that extend beyond our specific context, such as: what is the relationship between legality and illegality in the global economy? How are illicit activities assimilated into daily life? How do the mechanisms of money laundering function? What is the role of art in this panorama?

For this exhibition, the gallery transforms into a tense stage, examining the paradoxes of power, the construction of history, the future of art and the function it plays in our society. Hernández points at these connections in the sculpture White Cube, a square structure made from wooden planks, which allows one to glimpse its interior while impeding a direct view of its contents. This in turn, establishes a dialogue between the visible and the invisible, between a secret and an artifice. With intentional indifference to the morbidity associated with drug trafficking, the artist appeals to our common sense and ability to decipher reality. Asset Forfeiture seeks to deactivate the mechanisms and dynamics established by the mass media with the work Descabezados, (Beheadings) a chronological compendium that documents the events of 2014 through a selection of headings taken from the national press. This collage invites us to reconstruct a narrative from the connections between text and the empty spaces lying in between. 

In line with this plot, the artist does not consider himself outside the problem. On the contrary, he is part of a complex puzzle, one more link in the long chain of social decomposition. Hernández translates our shared responsibility in the experience of walking over Diamantes de sangre, (Blood diamonds) an interactive sculpture that covers the entire floor, imbuing both the walkway and ceiling with a reddish hue. This piece serves as a reminder of the violence that we have placidly learnt to deal with converted into numbers and graphs. Not devoid of irony, Hernández allows us to escape the floor and change our perspective by climbing upon a raised stage. Doing so, we become the “protagonists” of the void and we preside over an empty platform, with a hollow wall as our backdrop. The show makes evident the failure of state institutions and the gaps that make up our society, opening the door to regeneration and reconstruction, to the transformation of dismay into resiliency.

Nobuyoshi Araki in Mexico 
qARADISE, at Sonora 128
September 1–November 30, 2016
Araki, at Cantina Ardalio
September 1–October 15, 2016

The renowned Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki is participating in two simultaneous projects within Mexico City, both of which will take place outside the gallery: a solo presentation in Cantina Ardalio, organized by Abraham Cruzvillegas, and the third edition of Sonora 128, a billboard exhibition space.

Araki has long been recognized as a master of his medium, whose work captures the link between the I and eye, where photography is the observation of life and death embraced in life, or life embraced in death. Through countless exhibitions and publications, he has tirelessly experimented with the boundaries of photographic form, painting, writing, scratching or collaging his images. Araki makes humanity the most pressing and urgent subject of his work, be it in the form of love, desire, death, sadness, laughter, madness or joy.

For Sonora 128, a billboard project that aims to instigate a conversation with a broad audience, Araki will debut a new work. Centered on the theme of paradise, this image forms part of a larger, ongoing series, qARADISE, depicting fantastical orgies of tropical vegetation, inhabited by personal objects, such as dolls, monsters and plastic toys. Composed on black backgrounds to emphasize their vibrant colors, this series brims with Araki’s classic humor amongst ecstasy and death, As the artist comments, “all photography belongs in the next world. I mean, the next world is paradise. When I look through the camera now, every place is paradise.”

Araki has not only exhibited his images in galleries and museums worldwide, but also train stations, bars, and even ramen shops. For him exhibitions are a social event, similar to parades or celebrations. At Cantina Ardalio, a traditional locals-only bar in the Escandón neighbourhood, Araki’s frank love affair with the beauty of life finds a kindred home against murky mirrors. This low-key, all-inclusive cantina welcomes his work, providing a sincere, unpretentious setting where visitors will find a selection of photographic proofs chosen by the artist himself. Images of eros and thanatos, color nudes, food and blossoming flowers: evidence of how, for over 50 years, Araki has sought to portray a society capable of marveling at the most ordinary beauty, which anyone could imagine or witness.


For additional information, please contact: Julia Villaseñor, julia@kurimanzutto.com / T +52 55 5256 2408

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