* 1968, Mexico City
Abraham Cruzvillegas' artistic process is deeply influenced by his surroundings. Rather than being defined by a particular medium, many of his projects are linked by the platform of autoconstrucción – a concept that draws from the ingenious, precarious and collaborative building tactics implemented by the people living in Colonia Ajusco, his childhood neighborhood in Mexico City. He appropriated this term in relation to his practice to describe an approach of inventive improvisation and instability, which presents change as a permanent state arising from the chaotic and fragmentary nature of life. The evolving notion of autoconstrucción has in turn yielded different approaches such as autodestrucción and autoconfusión. These inquiries have led him to explore his own origins and to collaborate with family and friends in a very personal form of research, one that results in a constant process of learning: about materials, landscape, people and himself.
Through his oeuvre –which includes sculpture, painting, drawing, installation and video– Cruzvillegas reveals a close and constant engagement with the material world, immersing himself in the ongoing construction and transformation of personal and collective identities. Using a wide range of collected objects, his sculptures challenge the traditional conceptions of art-making, while his paintings and drawings are marked by a keen depiction of the subject and a strong sense of humor, instilled in him from his early training as a political cartoonist. Parallel to his artistic production, Cruzvillegas has cultivated writing as an investigative tool of self-analysis that merges history, criticism and fiction. His song lyrics and texts about art, politics and culture are a layer to be added to his aesthetic practice.
Abraham Cruzvillegas studied pedagogy at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México from 1986 to 1990 in Mexico City while simultaneously attending Gabriel Orozco’s Taller de lo viernes. He has been the recipient of many awards, including the 5th Yanghyun Prize (2012), as well as the Prix Altadis d' arts Plastiques (2006).
His most important projects and exhibitions include: Empty Lot, Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom (2015); MALI in situ: Abraham Cruzvillegas, Museo de arte de Lima, Lima, Peru (2015); Autoconstrucción, Museo Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico, and Museo Amparo, Puebla, Mexico (2014); Abraham Cruzvillegas: The Autoconstrucción Suites, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2014) and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, United States (2013); Self Builder’s Groove, Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Diens, Berlin, Germany (2011); Autoconstrucción, the Film, The New Museum, New York, United States (2011); The Magnificent Seven: Abraham Cruzvillegas, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, United States (2009); Autoconstrucción: The Soundtrack, Center for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow, United Kingdom (2008), among others. Additionally, his work has been included in group exhibitions at various institutions, including: The Museo de Arte de Zapopan, Guadalajara, Mexico (2014); Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, United States (2013); The Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo MUAC, Mexico City, Mexico (2011); Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom (2011); Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca MACO, Mexico (2009); The New Museum, New York, United States (2007), among others.
Furthermore, his work has been included in the following biennials: 12th Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (2015); 12th Havana Biennial, Havana, Cuba (2015); The Shanghai Biennial, Shanghai, China (2012); dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel, Germany (2012); 12th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey (2011); 6th Biennial Media City Seoul, Seoul, South Korea (2010); 10th Biennial de Havana, Havana, Cuba (2009); 50th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2003).
Abraham Cruzvillegas currently lives and works in Mexico City, Mexico.