Obliterations (1939-2014)


Fritzia Irizar

January 16 – April 20, 2014

Obliterations (1939-2014) brings together an intervention designed for the Proyecto Fachada (Façade Project) at the SAPS, and a selection of seven pieces to be presented at the first floor gallery, all linked to mechanisms of obstruction, cancellation or missing information in the artistic practice that allude to various social and political strategies towards consolidation or preservation of power.

Both projects encompass bounded processes within the period 1939-2014, signaling 1939 as the year when Siqueiros started painting the mural Retrato de la burguesía (Portrait of the Bourgeoisie)–since the intervention to the façade sets its origins in Siqueiros’ work. The second date marks the production of this project at SAPS. Both exhibitions act out as reflective proposals that evidence the mechanisms of discursive legitimacy both in the art system and in politics, while playing with appropriation and re-elaboration processes as a creative strategy.

Using a photographic record of the four panels that compose the mural created by Siqueiros for the headquarters of the Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas (Mexican Union of Electricians) in the San Rafael neighborhood, Irizar developed a full-scale replica printed on paper. The printed image was subsequently subjected to a grinding process; finally turning it into confetti. During the opening event, more than 30 kg of shredded paper were launched on the façade of the SAPS with a confetti cannon; thus reconstituting the former mural–now transformed into an unreadable mosaic.

 The festiveness Irizar convokes with this event refers to a cluster of social customs summarized in the expression “give them bread and circuses”, suggesting that a continuous supply of basic satisfactions and distractions maintain the individual distanced from political processes and social conflicts. Irizar refers to this strategy through a key moment in the action: the precise instant when the tension generated by the violent and threatening roar caused by the detonation of the confetti cannon is immediately replaced by an overall festive atmosphere, engulfing us in an illusory environment full of fantasy that inspires and promotes oblivion.

Obliteration is a common exercise within artistic practice used either as a statement of principles–a classic example would be the Erased de Kooning Drawing by Robert Rauschenberg (1953); or by assuming it as a natural stage in the creative process. Among the various corrections made to the mural Retrato de la burguesía (Portrait of the Bourgeoisie), the most iconic is the erasure of the image representing children who died during the attack on Guernica–innocent victims of fascism during the Spanish Civil War. Siqueiros decided to impose over it another image, this one portraying robust golden coins that alluded–according to his own words–to the material essence and dynamics of the bourgeoisie and capitalism. While in this work Irizar destroys the original image of the mural only to restore it as an unreadable representation, the action aims beyond these singular references in the art world, alluding to thousands of known events–and many more yet to be–in the history of our country.

Tatiana Cuevas

Exhibition Credits:
Curated by: Tatiana Cuevas; Exhibition coordinator: Luis Mosquera; Video documentation: Rafael Ortega and Andrés Villalobos; Photograph of the mural: Carlos Renau; Print and Cut: Grupo Rale, Impresos y Publicidad; Papirotecnia: Producciones Ednovi; Installation: Llamas A Mi; Translation: Marcela Quiroz; Thanks to: Maria José Aguirre, Manli Luz, Aleida Pardo and galería talcual.

Exhibition at the gallery