Take on the dead
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