Yautepec is excited to announce the first exhibition of its 2012 program, "Supremat" by Mexico City-based artist Anibal Catalan, on view from March 1st until April 7th, 2012.
The exhibition bridges Catalan's long-standing interests in the Russian avant-garde movements of Suprematism and Constructivism, as well as in the radical formalistic advances of Deconstructivism, with its roots in the late 1960s.
Each of these movements was either overtly or intrinsically politicized at its inception, yet Catalan's appropriations and syntheses of their respective visual languages carry no obvious prescriptive agenda. In a certain manner, his work can be seen as an aestheticization of failed prescriptivism.
Suprematism, Constructivism, and Deconstructivism all emerged during moments of social and political upheaval; while Suprematism was primarily an artistic movement that dabbled in architecture, Constructivism and Deconstructivism proposed holistically new approaches to the experience of the lived urban environment via architecture, art, design, and other disciplines (or the collapse of such distinctions).
As history would have it, the Russian Avant-Garde would be effectively silenced within their own country under Stalin's rule; however, their ideas had already influenced tastemakers in the West (via the Bauhaus and De Stijl movements, especially) and -- in their filtered form -- would come to be embraced by the voracious consumer market of an antithetical economic model.
Similarly, Deconstructivism was informed by radical ideas generated during the uprisings of May '68, but the buildings created by the architects of its watered-down philosophical lineage like Frank Gehry, Daniel Libeskind, and Zaha Hadid would become staple tourist-magnets for urban economies in need of a kick. Even the more grim vision of deconstructivist Lebbeus Woods found itself regurgitated by the spectacle through science-fiction films like 12 Monkeys and Alien 3 (the latter willingly, the former un-).
In this way, we can look at Anibal Catalan's work as an archaeology of and homage to the 20th century's flirtations with utopian alternatives that were eventually co-opted and subsumed by a growing, globalizing culture of unmatched momentum. These are visions of futures past -- loaded with unfulfilled promises of great transformation -- but ultimately left in the ditch along history's long march.