• Demián Flores Cortes, Untitled from the series Sombras de plata, 2001

    Demián Flores Cortes, Untitled from the series Sombras de plata, 2001

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ARENA MEXICO

9 October 2004 - 10 November 2004

Arena Mexico: A week of events to celebrate the magic of Mexican wrestling. 

To commemorate the Arena Mexico event, which included the first ever Mexican wrestling in the UK, we have produced a programme of the event.

Ideally speaking, art occurs whenever representatives from three different realms of society conflate over an object or expression, and discuss it with a public. Students, creators, and those who have an interest in acquiring art, have successfully gathered around Demián Flores and his oeuvre in Mexico and other cities worldwide. Flores was born in Oaxaca and the series he will be presenting at the University of Essex deals with professional wrestling. LuchaLibre -as it is known in Latin America- has been depicted in Flores's work as silhouettes and clichés borrowed from the original context where professional wrestling is found. His elaboration of luchalibre is clean and nitid, there is no further commentary, nor an interpretation. Flores merely aestheticizes the forms he sees. Such pugilistic gestures successfully convey the sense of popular fantasy, political allegory, and emblems of every-day life such signs have for Mexicans today. As a spectacle for the masses professional wrestling exists in Mexico since the beginning of the twentieth century. But it was only organized after 1933, by a commercial enterprise. Art History as an academic discipline was institutionalized in Mexico in 1939, when Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas was founded. Both expressions of society rarely ever had any dialogue, but conflicts between high-art and low-profile expressions have been overcome nowadays.

There's a tradition in Mexico of appropriations by artists and political statements, done by using the language of professional wrestling. The mask and the immemorial struggle between good and evil, have been devised by Mexicans as tools to represent: political discontent as did actor Héctor Bonilla in the mid-1980s with 'La Lucha se hace'; globaliphobic and ethnic claims done by Guillermo Gómez Peña in the 1990s; the recent work of Carlos Amorales at the Tate; and the very pungent relationship existing between the wrestler's mask and the concealed identity of SubComandante Marcos, an active guerrilla leader in Mexico nowadays. Such events and allocations of meaning, constitute the link between the over-intellectualized and what's vulgar, the cancellation of distance between high and low forms of art. Demián Flores also reflects those problematics of memory, identity, and politics, when we disentangle the content of his work for an audience foreign to the Mexican circumstance and the world of wrestling.

The work of Demian Flores and his interpretation of LuchaLibre, find an arena to be displayed in ESCALA. The Essex Collection of Art from Latin America is an eclectic and peculiar collection of modern and contemporary works of art donated by the artists themselves. In a joint effort between the academy and others interested in art, ESCALA revises the Latin American as a category itself. The logic behind other collections in the world is that of the market, fashion, or the personal taste of the owner. Being an academic institution its compromise is with objectivity.

Both ESCALA and Demián Flores thank Origina, a magazine that agreed to collaborate with them. In search of content for their visually attractive pages, Origina sets a difference from a recent tendency in Mexican magazine editing where publications merely exist as showcases for marketing and advertisement.

Carlos Molina P., Department of Art History

 

El Hijo de Santo vs Blue Panter Colchester Arts Center 6 October 2004

El Hijo de Santo vs Blue Panter Colchester Arts Center 6 October 2004 from ESCALA on Vimeo.

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