Opening September 25th 3.p.m
Thursday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. BIENALSUR presents a dialogue between Santiago Andrés Viale, an artist from the Province of Córdoba, and the artistic duo of Alberto Ortega Trejo and Andrea Hunt in the annex of the Andreani Foundation.Named after the 1952 film Dark River (Las aguas bajan turbias), the exhibition highlights the common conflicts of two cities, Mexico and Buenos Aires, troubled by a turbulent relationship with their surrounding bodies of water. In Viale's case, the vision of nature is tinged with romantic and yet disturbing nuances. The rhythmic sonority that accompanies the brown waves of the Río de la Plata is produced through a mechanical device in sight. Viale has been working for years on the construction of artefacts that evoke Leonardo Da Vinci's machines, whose purpose is not technical progress, but rather the unproductive imitation of natural phenomena, a sort of machinery of mimesis. How disproportionate and dangerous could the hybris of replicating, controlling, and domesticating natural phenomena be? What are the consequences? Ortega Trejo and Hunt address this issue by investigating the relationship between Mexico City's monumental hydrological system and the history of Mexican indigenous slave labour. The images projected on a concrete screen illustrate the efforts to drain the city from the late 19th century to 1975, when the deep drainage system was opened. Its implementation required 1,310,000 cubic metres of concrete, the material chosen by the artists for the masks in the shape of stalks that accompany the video, the same used in the Otomí constructions that characterise the territories through which the drainage runs. The audio-visual installation turns the history of the drainage into an alien territory of death, transformation, and political dispute in search of sovereignty and the historical repositioning of indigenous nations within the Mexican Republic.
Benedetta Casini and Leandro Martínez Depietri
Photo: Alberto Ortega Trejo & Andrea Hunt (2021)