Dr. Lakra

kurimanzutto, Mexico City

June 26, 2015

Dr. Lakra

June 9–September 5, 2015

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

T +52 55 5256 2408


An avid collector of diverse objects, Dr. Lakra (b. 1972, Mexico) views the search for materials and images as an extension of his artistic practice. In his case, collecting is also a way of constructing a language from the curiosities that populate his studio—a language made up of books, magazines, plastic dolls and figurines. His vocabulary has developed over the course of many decades: flea markets and garage sales have yielded unexpected encounters with many of the artifacts that are currently on display at kurimanzutto. 

Sculpted in wax or cast in bronze, Lakra’s findings have taken the form of totem sculptures, displayed as small groups within vitrines or as single pieces resting on black steel pedestals resembling cutout silhouettes of ancient, baroque and modern vases. The totemic amalgamations on view resemble exquisite corpses of historical references and contemporary images. A tiny Buddha statue sits above the head of E.T.—a composite creature with a wrestler’s muscular body, riding on a large polar bear. Above all of them stands a Jackie Chan statuette, complete with a killer kick frozen in mid-air. For the viewer, Monomito presents an exercise in recognizing quotes from popular culture as well as diverse religious iconographies. In effect, the objects in Lakra’s collection function as contemporary idols: evidence of a modern mythology transmitted through movies, comics, books, and television. Once removed from its original context, even the simplest toy reveals itself as the distilled version of the civilization that produced it, embodying synthesized and stylized societal myths, histories, and beliefs. 

Best known for creating irreverent and provocative images that transgress established norms, Dr. Lakra covers the gallery walls with a mural depicting large-scale figures that combine the heads and bodies of different deities. With these reconfigurations he dismantles and questions dominant ideologies through collage: African masks sit comfortably on Buddhist torsos, and pre-Hispanic deities smile atop Greek chests in an assemblage meant to destabilize and subvert. Informed by his interest in anthropology and ethnography, Lakra uses this exhibition as an opportunity to explore his fascination with the taboos, fetishes, myths and rituals of different cultures. His work is framed by mythologist Joseph Campbell’s investigations, in which he ponders, “Why is mythology everywhere the same, beneath its varieties of costume? And what does it teach?” Lakra draws from Campbell’s theory of the monomyth to consider how seemingly opposite belief systems tend to repeat themselves across the globe and how they can co-exist. 

Dr. Lakra’s approach to these ideas is always accompanied by his sense humor, present in the sculptural interventions of the busts of renowned musicians and politicians. By deforming their faces with grotesque protuberances and malformations, he threatens the perceived perfection and authority of classical sculpture. Chopin and Mexican president Lopez Portillo find themselves with unusually long, crooked noses and exposed skulls as the artist appropriates established portrait imagery to question what is understood as civilized or barbaric, correct or incorrect, high art or vandalism.     

Dr. Lakra has had solo exhibitions at the Nordiska Akvarellmuseet, Skärhamn, Sweden; Hostelbro Kunstmuseum, Hostelbro, Denmark; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; The Drawing Center, New York; and Kunsthaus Tacheles, Berlin. He has also participated in group exhibitions at the Brandts-Museum of Art and Visual Culture, Odense, Denmark (2014); Quai Branly Museum, Paris (2014); the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, California (2010); FLAG Art Foundation, New York (2010); Yokahama Museum of Art, Japan (2007); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2007); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2007); and the Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen (2007), among others. 

For additional information, please contact: info [​at​] kurimanzutto.com / T +52 55 5256 2408