MEXICO CITY — In an exhibition that leaves one feeling as though one wandered into an artist’s studio mid-workday or someone’s sex dungeon, ektor garcia created a space that speaks to a plurality of identities. His latest solo exhibition kriziz (Mexico City November 12 – December 17) was curated by Chris Sharp for the Kurimanzutto gallery. We’re running this exhibition alongside Helen Marten as both artists have a similar approach of using contemporary ceramics as a middleman in their sculpture.
Sharp states of garcia’s sculpture:
His work synthesizes an interest in queer culture and arts and crafts traditions with strong roots in Mexico. Although he is ostensibly a sculptor, his works tend to be so elaborately installed and involuted that it is hard to say where things end or begin. Evocative of a homemade altar, collection of ritual or fetish objects, garcia’s environments feature artifacts fashioned from an amalgam of techniques including leather making, ceramics, sewing, welding, embroidery, and collecting. The objects themselves are known to range from handmade ceramic cups to leather cock rings, to dog muzzles, which are often combined with recycled and appropriated materials to engender hybrid forms resisting classification.
When not appropriated, everything is crafted by the artist, who makes a point of learning each and every
technique he uses, however imperfectly. The work is liable to bring to mind the assemblages of Bruce Conner, the homoerotic leather culture of Robert Mapplethorpe, the personal mysticism of Paul Thek, and the mute or adumbrated violence of a homemade torture chamber. Moody, sensual, strangely elegant, and disturbing, his is an aesthetic of the truly minor– and this in every sense of the term, from the marginalized arts and crafts techniques he uses to the scale he works in to the cultural interstices among which the work circulates. It is at once weird, oddly familiar, and refreshingly unclassifiable.
In a review for Hyperallergic Devon Van Houten Maldonado writes about how the work subverts binaries, becoming something apart. The description puts one heavily in mind of esoterica and the occult, chaos:
The ultimate question posed by garcia is one about belonging and what it means to belong to multiple places, cultures, races, etc. His upheaval is funny and self-consciously melodramatic, with wry humor and tenderness just below the surface of dissonant darkness. The romance with his culture of origin is corrupted by Mexico’s traditionalism and homophobia, a present-day reality contradicted by Mesoamerican mystical practices characterized by gender fluidity or plurality. The installation throws the colonial cliché of the sensual, hyper-sexual “native” in viewers’ faces, exposing and materializing a cultural double standard as if by magic.
About the Artist
ektor garcia (b. 1985, Red Bluff, California), is a child of migrant farm workers. He has lived and traveled frequently between California and Mexico. Garcia received his BFA from The Art Institute of Chicago in Fiber and Material Studies in 2014 and recently received his MFA from Columbia University in 2016. Recent exhibitions include (2016) Matthew K Abonnenc and ektor garcia at Sargents Daughters, New York, United States; Contemporary Ceramics at LeRoy Neiman Gallery curated by JJ Peet, New York, United States; Touching The Membrane at Space Create, Newburgh, United States; two person show at the can gallery, a project by Lia Gangitano, New York, United States, 2015.
He lives and works in New York City.
Do you love or loathe this exhibition of contemporary ceramic art? Let us know in the comments.