To date an event is to shed light on a black hole of uncertainties in the network of memories we call History. In the exhibition 1914, the date refers to the origin of one of the oldest existing unions, the Mexican Syndicate of Electricians (SME), which was founded on December 14th of that year. It is a referent that puts itself in diachronic tension with the set of symbols that were born alongside the latent labor conflict — which began many years ago with various attempts to privatize the electricity sector — but especially since the morning of October 11th, 2009, when the power company Luz y Fuerza del Centro was dissolved by presidential decree, thus violating multiple labor laws, rights, and guarantees.
The physical location of Yautepec Gallery is a privileged one in which to take on the case of the dissolution of Luz y Fuerza del Centro, given that it sits squarely in front of the ex-offices of the company (and, moreover, that it opened its doors that very month of October 2009).
With the exhibition at hand — via the works and their repercussions — my aim is to create vessels for communication and to map out a connective enclave between groups that rarely find themselves together, yet which political art is able to facilitate: the general public for contemporary art and the members of a workers' union. Similarly, I'm interested to construct a group of ideas and percepts that take root in an empathy and indignation over this labor- and economic-conflict by means of documents, unanswered questions, collective voices, real-life heroes, the imprint of deception, as well as the internalization of social trauma and the trail of absences that it leaves.
Comprised of video, installation, drawing, and public space intervention, the exhibition presents a story with perspectives that move from the popular imagination to the recovery of the protest as compass, a visual exercise subordinating the subjective to the historical vision of the workers.
The majority of the exhibited works are collaborations with other artists, in the sense that I proposed ideas that then unfolded through dialogue-based processes: symbolic constructions both shared and collectivized.
—David Zepeda Armengol
Mexico City, D.F.
16 June 2013