Take on the dead

Mail & Guardian - - Friday -

Borges, who grew up in war-torn Luanda, has pro­duced a fanzine that il­lus­trates his take on the Gar­den of Eden. “I guess we’re de­stroy­ing this planet be­cause we want to live in Eden one day,” he says, adding that it’s of­ten for­got­ten that “ideal” lo­ca­tions such as Lon­don, Paris and Lisbon were cre­ated by peo­ple whose names never made it into his­tory books.

“There’s a his­tory of blood, scars and suf­fer­ing we don’t read about, yet some­how peo­ple ad­mire these places. But we can cre­ate our own mytholo­gies,” the self-pro­claimed punk artist says.

With the help of seven stu­dents who at­tended a four-day work­shop if we were to im­port an ex­hi­bi­tion to Oax­aca that was not re­lated to the con­text [of Mex­ico].” He be­lieves cross-cul­tural ex­hi­bi­tions such as Cross­ing Night are cat­a­lysts in cre­at­ing a nec­es­sary di­a­logue con­ceived from within an im­mer­sive en­vi­ron­ment.

Pho­tog­ra­pher Pi­eter Hugo is ex­hibit­ing 12 new im­ages in the Cen­tro Fo­tográ­fico Ál­varez Bravo, all shot dur­ing a pre­vi­ous visit to Mex­ico in April. In­spired by one of the coun­try’s renowned mu­rals, the roomen­com­pass­ing Del Por­firismo a la Revolu­ción by David Al­faro Siqueiros in the Cha­pul­te­pec Cas­tle, de­pict­ing a work­ers’ re­volt, Hugo has staged lo­cal garbage col­lec­tors in a sim­i­lar pose, car­ry­ing a body out­side a lo­cal mar­ket.

An­other por­trait is the re­sult of a chance en­counter with a prison Pas­sion play over the Easter sea­son. It doc­u­ments a thorn-crowned Mex­i­can Je­sus. “There’s a pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with death here [Mex­ico] that ap­peals to me,” says the vis­ual artist.

Hugo’s work is in the same gallery as that of Jo Ractliffe, a fit­ting venue con­sid­er­ing Ractliffe’s pho­to­graphic col­lec­tion has been cu­rated as a col­lec­tion in­spired by the gallery’s name­sake pho­tog­ra­pher Ál­varez Bravo’s Strik­ing Worker, Assassinated, an image in­cluded in the first pho­to­graphic book Ractliffe ever bought, and which has al­ways struck a chord with the South African pho­tog­ra­pher.

It seems much has come full cir­cle with Cross­ing Night.

“It’s like the sound of the rooster, as de­picted in Kim­bundu,” says Borges of this An­golan metaphor for wak­ing up to a new day, hav­ing ar­rived safely from a dark dream. “There’s a dumb­ing of the planet and a lack of me­mory, but hacer noche is al­ways there.”

Pro­ces­sion: In William Ken­tridge’s More Sweetly Play the Dance a brass band leads an­i­mated draw­ings and videos of fig­ures, some with IV drips, oth­ers pulling bod­ies, who per­form a danse ma­cabre. Photo: Jalil Olmedo

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