Muro para tochos, 2010
Galería Arróniz, Ciudad de México
Through a situation that mixes recognizable sculptural objects and forms, Barragán Gymnasium is an installation that attempts to open up reflection on the contemporary situation of Latin American cities, with a focus on the history of its urban development. The organization of the work conceptually combines Luis Barragán's drawing studio with Robert Smithson's mirrored corner pieces from 69 'and finally those of a boxing gym. The piece pays tribute to the arduous efforts and results of Latin American modernism, proposing reflection on the contemporary landscape and modernist urban concepts, where the brutalist movement of the sixties and seventies of the last century is key as a container or delineator of actions and positions of inclusion and exclusion.
Composed of four sections, the first is a floor-to-ceiling corner mirror, similar to those commonly installed in gyms. The difference is that it is found with recorded images of the utopian project El Pedregal (1949) by Luis Barragán, one of the most important schemes of the renowned Mexican modernist architect. Close to it are elevated on a steel frame, a bag and two boxing pears. The first created by multiple layers of bricks and cement and the second made up of formwork cement. The materials used for the pieces, characteristic of the brutalist period, reveal their true strength and strength. In them, however, their history is verified, with traces and striations worthy of time, decadent asperities that uncover the arduous Latin American journey and the constant change in the cultural reforms of the territory.
Three other boxing pears are also positioned on the ground. Of these, one is located on one of the two maps created by photo transfers of Mexico City. The pear, however, seems to have damaged it: The map shows folded and bent corners due to a symbolic fall from the past. Its totality now marked by both the physical and psychological weight of the result of the brutalist constructions that lie on it. Next to him, this time hanging on the wall, is a second map in a crooked position. It is closely accompanied by a steel structure, containing sixteen double weight dumbbells. The weights of different dimensions, some made of cement and others made of bathroom tiles, talk about the Mexican vigor and the utopian urban potential proposed by Barragán. Unnoticed but heavy, difficult to lift, the brutalist dumbbells show the difficult Mexican work of advancing by raising its own bases.
Barragán Gymnasium is the space in which Mexican resistance, vehemence and historical power are revealed. In space, elements are combined to allude to the proposed social utopia developed by Barragán's modernist thought, atrophied by the years after it. The materials expose themselves, revealing strong but decadent results and proposals that represent the failed reality of the community building model. The piece is summarized in the fragile mirror that portrays the contemporary situation of the country, showing in its reflection both the utopian symbolic structures created by the nation and its viewers, finally showing the current national reality.