• To observe is an act of resistance. —Julieta Gil Campeche presents Revertir el Desgaste, a solo exhibition of new work...

    Revertir el Desgaste, installation view, Campeche, Mexico City. Photo: Ramiro Chaves @whitebalancemx

     

    To observe is an act of resistance.

    —Julieta Gil

     

    Campeche presents Revertir el Desgaste, a solo exhibition of new work by Mexican artist Julieta Gil. Featuring a series of sculptures, video, and mixed media works that derive from analyzing monuments and touch upon concepts of activism, protests, art restoration, power structures, and architecture as a reflection of a contemporary society in her native Mexico.

     

    In recent years, Gil’s work has been defined by a detail-oriented process that arises from the sustained observation of her surroundings to identify commonplace symbols that appear—yet remain unnoticed—in everyday life. This contemplation comes from daily strolls or bike rides around the city, where the artist visits monuments and sculptures, and thoroughly documents them for posterity and analysis—mostly using her smartphone as a parting tool. 

     

  • Gil’s record-keeping system consists of a wide array of technological procedures devised to register and catalog her bodily interaction with... Gil’s record-keeping system consists of a wide array of technological procedures devised to register and catalog her bodily interaction with... Gil’s record-keeping system consists of a wide array of technological procedures devised to register and catalog her bodily interaction with... Gil’s record-keeping system consists of a wide array of technological procedures devised to register and catalog her bodily interaction with... Gil’s record-keeping system consists of a wide array of technological procedures devised to register and catalog her bodily interaction with...

    Gil’s record-keeping system consists of a wide array of technological procedures devised to register and catalog her bodily interaction with objects; to then be able to reconfigure them digitally. Whether it’s creating installation, sculpture, 3D renderings and animation, Gil aims to reconcile with the hegemonic landscape that surrounds her.

     

    For Revertir el Desgaste, Gil analized a group of landmarks and monuments located in Mexico City to evidence the imbalance of power between genders, races, and classes that these structures represent. Anchoring the exhibition is La Desesperanza (2021) a free-standing, large-scale sculpture depicting a fragmented female body encompassed within a metal structure. The work was created by scanning a sculpture located in Alameda Central in Mexico City that embodies a woman curled up in a child's pose—an allegory of hopelessness. Its metal base closely resembles the scaffolding that commonly envelops monuments and sculptures during the process of deep cleaning and restoration.

  • Desesperanza 2021, 3D-scanned arsenic, steel 143 x 80 x 95 cm, Edition of 2 + 1 AP (2/2) Desesperanza 2021, 3D-scanned arsenic, steel 143 x 80 x 95 cm, Edition of 2 + 1 AP (2/2) Desesperanza 2021, 3D-scanned arsenic, steel 143 x 80 x 95 cm, Edition of 2 + 1 AP (2/2) Desesperanza 2021, 3D-scanned arsenic, steel 143 x 80 x 95 cm, Edition of 2 + 1 AP (2/2) Desesperanza 2021, 3D-scanned arsenic, steel 143 x 80 x 95 cm, Edition of 2 + 1 AP (2/2)
    Desesperanza
    2021,
    3D-scanned arsenic, steel
    143 x 80 x 95 cm, Edition of 2 + 1 AP (2/2)
  • Gil’s interest in age-old restoration processes stems from the continual observation of monuments being cleaned, reconstructed, and repaired in the... Gil’s interest in age-old restoration processes stems from the continual observation of monuments being cleaned, reconstructed, and repaired in the... Gil’s interest in age-old restoration processes stems from the continual observation of monuments being cleaned, reconstructed, and repaired in the... Gil’s interest in age-old restoration processes stems from the continual observation of monuments being cleaned, reconstructed, and repaired in the... Gil’s interest in age-old restoration processes stems from the continual observation of monuments being cleaned, reconstructed, and repaired in the... Gil’s interest in age-old restoration processes stems from the continual observation of monuments being cleaned, reconstructed, and repaired in the... Gil’s interest in age-old restoration processes stems from the continual observation of monuments being cleaned, reconstructed, and repaired in the... Gil’s interest in age-old restoration processes stems from the continual observation of monuments being cleaned, reconstructed, and repaired in the...

    Gil’s interest in age-old restoration processes stems from the continual observation of monuments being cleaned, reconstructed, and repaired in the aftermath of events caused by social turmoil. For instance, the iconic Ángel de la Independencia—officially titled La Victoria Aladawas emphatically graffitied during a 500-person protest in August 2019, in an effort to demand government officials to declare an alert of gender violence. The landmark then was left with phrases like “Mexico feminicida” and “se va a caer” in neon pink, lime green, purple, and black spray paint. Within hours, workers erected a wooden wall around the base of the monument and began power-washing the graffiti. The fast-tracked and inevitable rehabilitation provoked the artist to question, “Why does it need to be repaired? Why can’t it be left exposing the real problems affecting our country?”

  • Julieta Gil Ley, Paz, Guerra, Justicia, 2021 Cast and pigment in 4 parts 40 x 44 x 1 cm Edition of 2 + 1 AP (1/2) Ley, Paz, Guerra, Justicia, 2021
    Cast and pigment in 4 parts
    40 x 44 x 1 cm
    Edition of 2 + 1 AP (1/2)

     

    Also on view in Revertir el Desgaste is a set of faux marble plaques created using an ancient process called 'scagliola.' Each one of them is titled: La Ley (Law), La Paz (Peace), La Guerra (War), and La Justicia (Justice), referencing the four corner pieces in La Victoria Alada; and displays text sourced from newspaper clippings that use bureaucratic language to describe the process of repairing these four pillars. Which led the artist to question, “Is it the statues that need restoration or is it the system itself?”

     

  • Hombres Ilustres (2021) is a two-channel video referencing the line of 77 statues flanking Avenida Paseo de la Reforma which... Hombres Ilustres (2021) is a two-channel video referencing the line of 77 statues flanking Avenida Paseo de la Reforma which... Hombres Ilustres (2021) is a two-channel video referencing the line of 77 statues flanking Avenida Paseo de la Reforma which... Hombres Ilustres (2021) is a two-channel video referencing the line of 77 statues flanking Avenida Paseo de la Reforma which... Hombres Ilustres (2021) is a two-channel video referencing the line of 77 statues flanking Avenida Paseo de la Reforma which... Hombres Ilustres (2021) is a two-channel video referencing the line of 77 statues flanking Avenida Paseo de la Reforma which...

    Hombres Ilustres (2021) is a two-channel video referencing the line of 77 statues flanking Avenida Paseo de la Reforma which depict and immortalize “the most outstanding” (all male) figures in the history of Mexico—chosen arbitrarily by government officials. By decontextualizing them and presenting them in different sizes, groupings, and iterations, the artist takes away their innate power and claims ownership over them. The text accompanying the piece is addressed to the sculptures themselves, allowing the artist to voice her own concerns.

  • Hombres Ilustres, 2021
    Two-channel HD video, 1:52 min
    Edition of 2 + 2 AP (1/2)
  • Hombres Ilustres, 2021
    Two-channel HD video, 1:52 min
    Edition of 2 + 2 AP (1/2)
  • Image credits:

    Artworks ©2021 Julieta Gil; installation images ©2021 Ramiro Chaves