Passersby

Passersby

PASSERSBY is a series of micro biographical exhibitions that highlight the passage through Mexico of influential foreigners that have influenced the national’s artistic speech development.

 

While referring to the concept of a series of characters, this museographic piece consists of a modulated folding screen made out of wood and brass. Each module unfolds a different display. The nine different typologies are structured in between them using unions that generate thousands of combinations. Tables, stands, shelves, windows and brass bars characterize the panels that support the documentary materials exhibited in each one of the PASAJEROS shows.

 

The first exhibition of the PASSERSBY series, gives a brief look into the legacy of the reknown theatre director Jerzy Grotowski (Rzeszów, Polonia 1933-1999) and his mysterious visits to Mexico.

The Passersby series consists of biographical and documentary-style micro-exhibitions focused on historical figures from abroad who have passed through Mexico and influenced the development of artistic discourse in the country.
The second edition of the Passersby series focuses on the American writer and architecture critic Esther McCoy (1904-1989) and on the country that she saw during her travels to Mexico in the 1950s. The peculiar Mexican modernist language that McCoy observed in emblematic buildings like those of the Ciudad Universitaria (University City) and the residential area Jardines del Pedregal profoundly influenced her way of relating to architecture. In a way, one could say that the pairing of the international style and regional references that McCoy described in her writings for widely circulating publications like Arts and Architecture and the Los Angeles Times had an impact on the development of Californian architecture and design during that time period.
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John Cage (United States, 1912-1992) was one of the foremost composers and theorists of the 20th century. His radical experiments with noise, silence and timbre, and the use of chance operations and indeterminacy, continue to influence music and many other artistic fields.

This exhibition documents Cage’s travels to Mexico City in 1968 and 1976, as well as illustrating his friendships and collaborations with several Mexican intellectuals. His work and ideas, while already known locally, were disseminated more vigorously after his visits. Cage accompanied the Merce Cunningham Dance Company as part of the 1968 cultural program of the Olympic Games. In 1976, he returned to Mexico City to share two recent works and the ideas behind them.

Cage’s presence manifests in the musical, literary and visual works that his friends produced in homage to him during those years. He was a subject as much as a reference in the explorations these Mexican artists and intellectuals produced in their own disciplines. His relevance is also patent in key cultural periodicals such as Plural, Diálogos, Pauta, Revista de Bellas Artes and Revista de la Universidad de México, either as an author or as a topic of discussion.

Cage encountered a country during an effervescent period in its thriving creative and social scene. In Mexico, the American composer found himself among peers whose work reverberated with his own practice. In this sense, Cage provides a thread that weaves together numerous stories of artistic innovation, which continue to be relevant.

John Cage is the third edition in the Passersby series, consisting of biographical and documentary-style micro-exhibitions focused on historical figures from different disciplines. During their stay in Mexico and through their encounters with artists and intellectuals, these figures left a trail of influences that have marked the cultural landscape of this country.

Passersby 01 / Jerzy Grotowsky
Curatorship: José Esparza Chong Cuy and Rodrigo Ortiz Monasterio
Exhibition design: LANZA Atelier (Isabel Abascal y Alessandro Arienzo)
Design team: Alejandro Márquez
Where and when: Jumex Museum, Mexico City, 2015.
Photography: Moritz Bernoully (Courtesy of Fundación Jumex Arte Contemporáneo)

Passersby 02 / Esther McCoy
Curatorship: José Esparza Chong Cuy and Rodrigo Ortiz Monasterio
Photography: Laura Cohen
Where and when: Jumex Museum, Mexico City, 2017

Passersby 03 / John Cage
Photography: Laura Cohen
Where and when: Jumex Museum, Mexico City, 2017