En San Antonio
“It’s very interesting to displace these images from their original context, to take them to a museum or gallery where they become something else,” says Deborah Holtz, co-curator of the show. “They become a work of art.” The exhibit is something new for the Instituto de Mexico, whose visual-arts exhibits generally focus on fine art. Director Gabriela Franco said she decided to bring “Sensacional!” here because “I want to show San Antonio the Mexican urban landscape.”
Holtz and designer Juan Carlos Mena, her partner in the Mexico City-based Trilce Ediciones, published a book and created the exhibition with images gathered by some 30 photographers over four years in towns and cities throughout Mexico. In addition to the makeshift signs, the book and exhibition include fliers, posters and packaging for products such as the “miracle” soaps found in botanicas that promise to bring users love or luck. “As you can see in the book, we are not doing a photographic exercise, because we left aside where the images were taken,” Holtz says.
At the exhibition, however, viewers can see what the signs look like in situ in borders of photographs that run along the base of the walls and slides contained in plastic viewers hanging from the ceiling on ball chains. Among the often-funny images is a chicken with six-pack abs advertising its roasted brethren, R2-D2 serving up a steaming pizza and a masked wrestler tossing back a cup of coffee. “The design and how they announce things here is very naove,” Holtz says.
Instituto Cultural de México