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Autodestrucción8: Sinbyeong is the eighth episode of the artist’s “autodestrucción” series, an ongoing project of Cruzvillegas since 2012 that combines various languages of literature, philosophy, and music in various localities such as Los Angeles, Mexico City, Paris, and London. For this exhibition, Cruzvillegas presents new works in which he reuses not only waste such as roof slates, bricks, floor panels, styrofoam and wood, but also daily objects as shoes, chairs, lighting, bicycle, frame and blankets collected from redevelopment areas in Seoul. It is through such recycling that the artist generates new possibilities and novel images for the seemingly useless objects that have lost their original functionality. It is in this context of transformation that sinbyeong (神病), a particular spiritual experience, has been added as the subtitle of this show. The artist employs as the ground metaphor of his exhibition this space of a rite of passage, or space of mediation, that one has to pass through in order to metamorphose from one being to another.
In the artist’s note for Autodestrucción8: Sinbyeong, Cruzvillegas introduces the eminent avant-garde Mexican poet Jorge Cuesta and his posthumously published poem Song to a Mineral God. In this representative piece of a poet that had pursued radical transformation and alteration of chemistry using his own body, Cuesta pronounces the autonomy of language by taking on the perspective of animism to liberate the language from the sentiments of the poet and allowing room for it to reveal the feelings of its own. It is through the artist’s note that Cruzvillegas borrows such stance of Cuesta and seeks a liberation and transformation of language. An axolotl, a Mexican salamander that the artist has found at Chonggyecheon during the exhibition preparation, has been brought into the exhibition space in which the amphibian will live throughout the exhibition period. Axolotls grow into adulthood without going through metamorphosis. The artist takes on this creature forever living under its immature features as a metaphorical medium through which to explore the significance of the perpetual transformation of the universe and objects.
The sculptures and installations of Cruzvillegas question the construction process of an individual’s identity that is created amongst various social, political, economic, and historical conditions. The artist makes use of readymade and found objects from his surroundings and blends various techniques to generate impromptu and incomplete spaces. This methodology of “autoconstrucción”, developed since 2007 in the form of serial episodes, is based on his childhood experience of his family having settled down and built their home in the barren Southern outskirts of Mexico City. The construction process of the Cruzvillegas house was one that depends on improvised materials and techniques from whatever that could be found in their immediate surroundings, one that depended on love and collaboration among the community members. A corresponding operation to such “autoconstrucción” is the “autodestrucción”, a methodology and artistic practice of circulating destruction and construction that Cruzvillegas has developed since 2012. Such methodologies of “autoconstrucción” and “autodestrucción” that imply recycling materials found around exhibition spaces for new functions are materialized as the artist’s architectural sculpture, whose production process is also completed by organic collaboration and participation of curators, other artists, critics, and general public.
For Autodestrucción8: Sinbyeong, the exhibition team of Art Sonje Center has held on to the leftover debris from its past exhibitions throughout the year, and also collected detritus from redevelopment neighborhoods around Seoul. The artist uses such materials to create new works during his two-week stay in Seoul, with the help of artists and art students in Korea. Furthermore, upon a barren space of Art Sonje Center that has torn down parts of its walls to portend its upcoming renovation, Cruzvillegas uses video, sound, performance, and traces to reconstruct the memory of his parents’ house in Ajusco, Mexico. In the meanwhile, Art Sonje Center has hosted a series of “Monday Workshops” consisting of interviews and lectures of curators, sociologists, and artists. A documentation of such pre-events and the making process of the exhibition is to be published within the exhibition period.
About the Artist
Born in 1968 in Mexico, Abraham Cruzvillegas studied Pedagogy at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and was a member of Gabriel Orozco’s workshop from 1987 to 1991. He has participated in diverse artist run projects like Temístocles 44 and La Panadería. He is also the founder of La Galería de Comercio that opened in in 2010.
His work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions worldwide, including a major exhibition Abraham Cruzvillegas: The Autoconstrucción Suites at the Walker Art Center in 2013 which traveled to the Haus der Kunst, Münich, Germany (2014); Fundación colección Jumex, Mexico City (2014) and Museo Amparo, Puebla Mexico (2014). He has also participated in Documenta (13), Kassel, Germany in 2012; Gwangju Biennial, South Korea also in 2012; 10th Havana Biennial, Cuba in 2009; and the 50th Venice Biennial, Italy in 2003. Cruzvillegas was awarded the Yanghyun Prize in 2012 and is to present a new project at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall this coming October.
*This exhibition has been made possible by the Yanghyun Foundation.