MEXICAN EMBASSY A PROJECT AT LA RESIDENCIA 134 LONDON E2 12 JANUARY 2012
From Walter Benjamin text Mexican Embassy:
"I never pass a wooden fetish, gilded Buddha, or Mexican idol with out telling my self : that maybe the true God " Charles Baudelaire
" I dreamed I was a member of an exploring party in Mexico. After crossing a high, primeval jungle, we came upon a system of aboveground caves in the mountains where an order had survived from the time of the first missionaries till now, its monks continuing the work of conversion among the natives. In an immense central grotto with a Gothically pointed roof, Mass was celebrated according to the most ancient rites. we joined the ceremony and witnessed its climax: toward a wooden bust of God the Father fixed high on a wall of the cave a priest raised a Mexican fetish. At this, the divine head turned thrice in denial from right to left."
Walter Benjamin, "Mexican Embassy", from One-Way Street, in Reflections.
The event Mexican Embassy tuck place Sunday 15 of January at La Residencia 134, Esther Planas studio flat in London, a place that has been also a "refuge" and short residence for various artist and friends for the past five years ... The idea was to have a few issues present and leave the spirit of the day take its time and lead the happening.
As a guest, some had arrived early but puzzled about what was supposed to happen.. this feeling of an imminent "thing about to occur " floated in the space making the non event a surreal parallel to Buñuel's The Exterminator Angel subject...
Another guest was too similar to Salvador Dali, the antagonist of Luis Buñuel, after he denounced Luis of been a "commie " to the authorities in New York forcing his ex-friend exile to Mexico and
some how creating or starting the cause of what later would be some of the best creations that Buñuel delivered as a Film Maker as in his Mexican period. Then the host who is a renowned Medium, got visited by Luis B, a very furious spirit that could only send Salvador to Hell literally. Some other guest read the text by Benjamin on his dream and sing along some traditional Criollas song from Mexico.
The installation situation at Residencia 134, is a project by Esther Planas related with her supposed first solo show eternally delayed by various odd (maybe that God??) reasons in Mexico DF.
....Preparing the show, there where issues found and issues compiled as for raw material to be later distilled and synthesised.
One very relevant text and the title of the event, is Walter Benjamin's Mexican Embassy, a description on one dream he once had...
The idea of myth, travelling as to re-discover and re-trace.
The idea of an Embassy, a space where all things "that nation", could happen inside.. the little portion of magic territoire where one could pray at The Other's God's.
If we understand God as religion and religion as Culture, opposed to Ritual as Folklore in the way
the West has managed to represent the Otherness of such places ( the ones colonised by them) as the lands were (due to different politics of Colonisation) one can still walk next to the real owners of the territoire...
The knowledge that Planas ancestors where living somewhere on the country at a harbour... Xalapa 1907, as a note about a grand father doing his first communion at one very complicated to pronounce address.
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz aura and specially the idea or "her room" at the convent, a place full of books and instruments where to study and write and play...
Roberto Bolaño's Savage Detectives and his "poet disappeared muse" Cesarea Tinajero.
The notes, films compiled, about Caridad Mercader and her son The Killer of Trostky: Ramón Mercader.
Felix Candela and his Volta Catalana shaped buildings... plus a whole stream of conscience like references to other works, lectures and material that has been found along the journey of preparation for a show that it maybe never touches Mexican ground.
The context is the residence /studio/ house of Planas and there lots of works hung related to this project, Gold Monochromes, a Tele-transporting Mayan Magic Penetrable, a Ritual Dress, unfinished Panels.
The event is about a call to the spirits of such ancient Gods from "a petite coin du monde anglaise " as if in a Mexican Embassy, more close to the decadent sort Des Esseintes from Against Nature, would have created at his house than a real one. Because there is some kind of toxicity in the implications or the material that transpires as testimonials of terrible hidden crimes.
The idea of Mexico trough out the topics of a constructed narration and reconstructed memories of all sorts of non Mexican people The Visitors, The Colonisers, The Exiled.
The Outsider's Dream..... to only make justice to the Spirits and Ancestors from its real origin and unique source of truth.
Part Two and ongoing Mexican Embassy (2012/2014)
The Civil War in Spain had its best Republican thinkers, artist, architects etc etc exiled to South America but mostly to Mexico, thanks to the unique Cardenas. This exercises are an homage to all this talent and potentiality that had fled to survive and that we still miss as our real cultural legacy.
Specially when from Latin American new curators we find an insistence in separate Spaniards from themselves, never mind the social and racial similarities that those so called Latinos, have in common with their Spanish ancestors. The issue is almost never risen, what is it that mades a Colony? How come the discourse can still be about talking of Spain as if we where still in the Baroque, when is clear that is a "white criolla elite" the one that stills have the upper hand on the submitted country and its land?
We can say never the less, that for us the other side of the sea, it was a massive loss to miss all the best of our people's thanks to the fascist and the international powers that made this possible.
This is been one line of work since a few years and hopefully one day will see its light.
Cactus at Jardines de Montjuich in Barcelona, me and a poster with building by Félix Candela.
Publication posterior to the process launched at INDEX collaboration of Esther Planas and Behind theX London. Actually at MACBA arxius
More of the ongoing research project: http://mexicanembassy.tumblr.com/