Speakers: Paloma Contreras Lomas, Julio García Murillo, Nika Chilewich, Natalia de la Rosa, and Roselin Rodríguez
Biquini Wax EPS is an interdependent contemporary art space in Mexico City run by artists Paloma Contreras Lomas, Ramón Izaguirre, Israel Urmeer, Cristóbal Gracia, Daniel Aguilar Ruvalcaba, and Eric Valencia, writers Gustavo Cruz, and Sandra Sánchez, art historian Natalia de la Rosa, and curators Roselin Rodriguez Espinosa Julio García Murillo, and Nika Chilewich, also directors of the Yacuziz, a collective of Sub-Critical Studies. The Yacuziz began with casual meetings geared towards the religious study of critical theory on contemporary art in Latin America – a meeting which occurred every fifteen days in Biquini Wax. We adopted the term “temple” to communicate the collective’s commitment to irrational beliefs and its supernatural or magical goals, in place of scientific or academic aspirations, borne from our understanding of knowledge as a poetic experience. We use the prefix “sub” to confront canonical Western traditions, and to assume the complexity of our economic and cultural relationship with the North, a gesture which emphasizes our affiliation with the colonial histories that unite Mexico, where the Yacuziz are based, with the rest of Latin America. By using this theoretical and conceptual platform, our understanding of criticism obtains an ‘other’ temporality, one with the capacity for radioactivity without the need for advanced weaponry, particularly the development and use of nuclear bombs as a post war tactic. Our subcritique is geometrical, realistic, archaeological, and analectic, a subapocalyptic nuclear warhead facing the sun; as Diego Rivera once said, “the Hbomb won’t affect the marxists”.
Biquini Wax EPS and Yacuziz are currently installed in a house, or vecindad, where half of its members lives with little separation between their domestic and work spaces. Their schedule is intense, with up to two or three events per week that include exhibitions and performances, as well as numerous reading groups and seminars, which is Biquini Wax EPS’ main focus. Biquini Wax EPS is a contemporary art sect, first established in order to create an original cultural space that would allow emergent artists to exhibit their art with refreshing peculiarity. From its conception, the sect’s research developed in complete communion with its work space or sanctuary –the lacking separation between the private and public spheres viewed as an expression of labor conditions in neoliberal times. Nowadays the group’s main objective is the production of art and critique generated in relationship to the space’s specific urban context. This is achieved through the collective’s unique organizational structure, and the commitment of its members to the political, social, and economic study of the Buenos Aires neighborhood where Biquini Wax EPS is currently located. This includes an expansion in the types of interventions the collective pursues from those mainly geared towards domestic space to actions directed at the greater social landscape. Biquini Wax EPS is indebted to previous independent projects in Mexico City, such as La Panadería or Temistocles 44, but the collective believes that the tradition of the artist-run space as a genre whose roots lie in the utopian notion of ‘integración plástica, or ‘plastic integration’ developed by Mexico’s modern artists, in particular the those belonging to the muralist movement.
Natalia de la Rosa is a Mexican art historian and curator. Her studies cover modern art and visual culture in Mexico; Mexican muralism and public art; cinema, architecture, and theory of the Avant-garde in Latin American. Her work poses fundamental questions about the interrelations between art, politics and economics in Latin American. Her interests include the need to rethink and highlight networks among artists and groups in countries like Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Colombia. De la Rosa published on David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican painting, cinema and poetry, and Pop art in Mexico. She was an associate curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico (2014-2016), where she coordinated and curated the exhibits: Cineplástica. Film on Art in Mexico (1960-1975), Paul Westheim: Sense and Form, and Juan Acha. Toward a New Artistic Problematic. Dr. De la Rosa collaborates with the collective “Los Yacuzis”, a group of artists, art critics, and journalists, recovering Latin American criticism, and producing editorial, curatorial and artistic projects. De la Rosa is a Posdoctoral Associate in the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University. Currently she is working with Professor Esther Gabara, co-director at the Global Brazil Lab, prepararing the exhibition Pop América: Contesting Freedom, 1965-1975 for the Nasher Museum.
This event is presented by the John Hope Franklin Center, and Duke’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. A light lunch will be served. Parking is available in nearby Trent Rd. and Erwin Rd. parking decks. The series provides 1 hour parking vouchers to guests.