De Como Ser Amábilis. 2014. HD Video. Sound. Included in xxxxxxxxxx.
No. XXXXXXXXXX is a personal atlas of the ways in which the letter X has been used incontemporary Mexican architecture. The discussion around the letter X goes back to the Spanish conquest. At the core of the debate was whether to spell the colony’s name “Mexico” or “Mejico.” To make a long story short, at a given point spelling Mexico’s name with an X was officially accepted. The X became a symbol of the junction of the pre-Hispanic tradition and the new mestizo identity, a symbolic icon of the birth of the modern Mexican state. Shortly after the Mexican Revolution of 1917, the state’s architects and urbanists used the X as a resource to think, project, build, and reinforce structures. The marvelous history of the X in Mexico is the foundational fiction of the country’s modernity. This is the point of departure for my project, an excuse to engage in a playful reflection on the construction of my own identity and to speak about history, poetry, the image, space, love, the body, God, time, language, and nothing in particular. An oxymoron: this is both an ambitious and small project. Why architecture? Because it provides a conceptual framework and a representation of the play between structure, language, and my body. Why Mexico? Though I was born in Argentina, I live in Mexico. To activate this duality and vision is to reactivate the idea of America as an archetype of utopia. I do not seek to establish an encyclopedic truth. I want to develop a cosmography that documents my relationship to history in a poetic way. This work can be a chaos of movements in multiple directions but, at the same time, operates as the epicenter of an experiential system. It’s like getting something off my chest. A negotiation between who I am on my own and what we are as a social and historic body. This is also the form that confusion and desire have taken.
xxxxxxxxxx. 2014. 250 images. B/W images are xerox prints. Color images are inkjet prints. 29 x 29 cm.
La Cruz del Sur.
Museo Experimental El Eco. 2011.
Full of color, texture and detail, the photographs by Ramiro Chaves currently presented at the Museo Experimental El Eco reveal their subjects and sources slowly. For nearly two years, as a professional photographer, Chaves has been documenting the exhibitions and events of El Eco, for the archive and publications of the museum. From the beginning of this assignment, Chaves asked if he could have access at all hours to the building, in order to work concurrently on an artistic project involving the play of light within this unusual building built by Mathias Goeritz. Tied to previous works he had produced investigating Mexican Modernist architecture, the intimacy Chaves developed with El Eco soon grew into a larger conversation with the work of Goeritz, involving research in his archive at CENIDIAP, as well as visits the various public and private projects built by the German artist that are still visible in the city. This project includes images taken of Mexico City projects by Goeritz in the Facultad de Estudios Superiores Aragon School of the National University in Cuidad Neza, the Camino Real Hotel in Polanco, the Unidad Habitacional Lopez Mateos near Satelite, the colonial Church at Tlatelolco and a private home in Temixco. These studies by Chaves perform a quiet archeology of a particular Modernist moment in Mexico, exploring the 50s and 60s as a period of dynamic urban expansion and architectural innovation, development projects in which Goeritz played an active role. Most of these once monumental and isolated structures have now been consumed within the dramatic density of contemporary Mexico City. The images the artist has produced reveal a fascination with this past historical moment, while they serve as source material for his elegant compositions. His use of light challenges the monumentality and assumed permanence of the massive concrete structures built by Goeritz, while at the same time paying homage to the play of light and shadow that the older artist produced within his projects. In his manifesto, ¨Emotional Architecture,¨ Goeritz critiqued Modernist Functionalist architecture, calling for the need to provoke emotions in the viewer. These photographs by Chaves activate this legacy. Through their reflected light, projected shadows, saturated colors, they stimulate our senses and emotive capacities, offering a subjective view of these historical forms.
Text by Tobias Ostrander.
Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil. 2006.
The project consisted in the recovery and installation of the old letters used to advertised the mexican shoe brand CANADA. At the beginning of the 2000´s the company went bankrupt and the signage that constituted a Mexico City landmark was dismantled.
N. 2006. Inkjet print. 100 x 85 cm.
Miramar is the only town on the coast of Laguna Mar Chiquita, the largest lake in Latin America. This salted lake is located in the province of Cordoba, the geographical centre of Argentina. My family is native to this area, and it is where I spent a great part of my childhood. I like to start from the idea that every language is a form of nostalgia – a sign of something that has disappeared. A movement between memory and imagination. My images refer to trivial fictions but at the same time describe real places. I see these sites as unique and sacred, establishing a fractured mythology based on historical facts and everyday experiences.