It's been said that "history is written by the victors," but may also be true that art history often seems to have been written to mostly reflect the culture of Europe and the U.S. Lately, Latin American art has been receiving some long overdue recognition, with Mexico City emerging as a regional epicenter. These works by Mexico City's Feral Collective may initially suggest familiar conceptual or minimal art themes, but if we look a little deeper they reflect something stranger, as if the looser threads of ordinary reality had come unraveled and were whimsically rewoven by a cabal of metaphysical modernists.
Visitors are greeted by a line--a long horizontal tangle of pencil lines collectively drawn on the wall with an invitation to visitors to participate in creating "infinity." But Mariana Magdaleno's tie me up installation of ink drawings of eyes on paper ovals connected by a spidery web of string reflects what she calls "the connection power that exists between people when eyes meet each other." Jorge Rosano Gamboa's hanging paper scrolls with solitary lines of ink celebrate the "gravity spirits," while some evocative imprints left in carbon black on the wall by the artist's animated body are titled vulture, left, (after a Mexican transformation ritual). Works by Christian Castaneda and Benjamin Sogols include walls covered with oversize replicas of face-down tarot cards that radiate portentous uncertainty--a quality echoed in Castaneda's "interventions," darkly painted graphical forms that confront the visitor like inexplicable shadows or mysterious omens. Things take a spectral turn in Roberto Flores' closet door, top, a video of the artist painting the outlines of a door on a blank wall that is, in turn, projected on to the gallery's side door, suggesting some sort of Home Depot portal to another dimension. And it is reassuring to note that the speculative approach to time and space found in Latin American fiction is alive and well in the work of the Feral Collective. ~Bookhardt / The Feral Collective: New Work by Christian Castaneda, Benjamin Sagols, Jorge Rosano Gamboa, Roberto Flores and Mariana Magdalena, Through Aug. 2, The Front, 4100 St. Claude Ave., 920-3980.
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