Yautepec is pleased to announce "A Brief History of Breakdown," its second individual exhibition for Guadalajara-based artist, Joaquin Segura. The exhibition will be on view during the gallery's regular operating hours throughout the 2012 edition of Zona Maco and will continue until June 2nd. The official opening event will be held on Saturday, April 21st, from 8PM - 11PM.
Segura's work has long taken aim at mechanisms and institutions of power, yet in "A Brief History of Breakdown," Segura focuses on the impasse — on the absurdity of dialogue and resolution between the powerful and the powerless.
The exhibition is comprised entirely of new works that shed much of the confrontational style that first earned Segura international attention. These works are still intended to unnerve, but for reasons that are not always identifiable at first glance. Segura has called these "mute" artworks, ones which operate via strategies of encryption and translation rather than shock and provocation. Their effect becomes all the more disconcerting because it is so deceptively subtle.
In his series, The Messiah Syndrome, Segura presents various charcoal drawings of improvised explosive devices, each of which was either confiscated and disarmed before its intended use or ultimately failed to detonate. Rendered in the style of classical still-lifes, these objects of desperate, extreme measures are transformed into symbols of impotence, loaded with imagined narratives of failed martyrs.
In another work, Blackouts & Whitewashes #1, an almost-entirely redacted document related to the CIA's practice of a controversial form of torture called "waterboarding" has been transformed into a hand-woven tapestry. In its grand, oversized scale and translated medium, the heavily censored document bizarrely begins to take on the character of Ellsworth Kelly's black-and-white field paintings, while the little text that remains visible still hints ominously at the image's origins.
This idea of negation-as-aesthetic carries over as well into Segura's Exercises On Selective Mutism, an installation of hand-made protest banners — procured from recent marches and occupations in the streets of Mexico City — which have been painted over in white, nullifying their content completely. For Segura, the fascinating aspect of the capital city's daily, omnipresent protests and long-term encampments is that they have become absolutely ordinary — elements of the urban landscape, manifestations of acceptable dissent. Presenting their banners within the context of a contemporary art gallery, silenced with the simple application of white paint, these signs transform from markers of struggle to ones of hopelessness and despair.
The argument of "A Brief History of Breakdown" in this way assumes its bleak form: resistance is futile. Change is impossible. It's all fucked. Forever.