THEREZA MARIA ALVES: THE LONG ROAD TO MEXICO (1991-2014) Until May 31, 2015 at The Museum of Contemporary Art
Born in Brazil (1961), studied in the United States and has lived in Cuernavaca, Brussels, Berlin and southern Italy. Generically, Alves defines his practice as follows: My works investigating social and cultural phenomena that challenge what we think we know and who we think we are and focus on where we are and who we are, really, at this time.
The long road to Xico is a retrospective exhibition that reviews his career through a selection of works dating back to 1991. Alves is a pioneering artist in the postcolonial debate that was formed in New York in the 80s (where he emigrated from girl with parents); first at the prestigious Cooper Union and then within several independent projects on the Lower East Side, as Kenkeleba gallery, which represented an alternative to the alternative scene, when indigenous artists, Latino or African Americans suffered marginalization of the cultural establishment. His work responds, therefore, to a different conceptual tradition associated with characters like Jimmie Durham, David Hammons and Juan Sanchez, assets in Manhattan at that time. This latest project, due to its deep connection to Spain. The return of a lake tells the story of the valley of Xico, a township on the outskirts of Mexico City located next to one of the lakes that at times, were part of the capital of the Aztec empire. In the late nineteenth century, the Spaniard Inigo Noriega arrived immigrant Xico and drained the lake, thus closing a cycle of ecological destruction and social marginalization that began with the arrival of Hernán Cortés and his soldiers.
Through this work and another 17, Alves proposes a debate on two issues that are crucial for contemporary culture and Spain in particular: the need to develop a new sensitivity towards nature on the one hand, and urgency rewrite the colonial history on the other. Two tasks undoubtedly found on the island of the Guadalquivir in which Columbus was buried and where his son planted a ombú centenary, whose shadow still shelters us, the ideal place from which to rethink where we are and who we are, at this time.