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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos

los manantiales restaurant, xochimilco, mexico city
december 14, 2003
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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, gabriel orozco, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, gabriel orozco, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, eduardo abaroa, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, enrique metinides, lawrence weiner, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, lawrence weiner, rirkrit tiravanija, dr. lakra, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, lawrence weiner, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, enrique metinides, abraham cruzvillegas, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, abraham cruzvillegas, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, gabriel kuri, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, monika sosnowska, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, gabriel orozco, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, gabriel orozco, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, eduardo abaroa, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, enrique metinides, lawrence weiner, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, lawrence weiner, rirkrit tiravanija, dr. lakra, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, lawrence weiner, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, enrique metinides, abraham cruzvillegas, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, abraham cruzvillegas, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, gabriel kuri, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, monika sosnowska, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

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elephant juice, sexo entre amigos, los manantiales restuarant, xochimilco, mexico city, 2003

Elephant Juice (Sexo entre amigos), a one-day group exhibition conceived by Damián Ortega, took place inside a restaurant in Xochimilco on Sunday, December 14, 2003.  The project brought together the work of eighteen artists, both national and international, who contributed drawings, photographs, sculptures, installations and performance pieces to the show. These were exhibited at “Los Manantiales,” a restaurant housed inside a thin-shell circular concrete structure built in 1958, boasting a futuristic design based on intersecting hyperbolic shapes by the architect Félix Candela.

 

Beyond a conventional curatorial exercise, Ortega proposed a stage ready to be intervened: a circular labyrinth made from scaffolding material, the kind of metal tubing used in construction sites but also found in outdoor market stalls. In collaboration with architect Mauricio Rocha, Ortega designed and built the maze using rented scaffolding, which was then covered with different materials, ranging from canvas, plastic and mesh. This structure served to hang the artwork but it also created a series of smaller sections where sculpture and video were on display.

 

The journey along this labyrinth presented a very particular set of viewing conditions for the spectator whom, affected by the impossibility of seeing more than a few meters ahead, experienced the partial and fragmented perception of space. More than a path to be followed blindly, the labyrinth format offered a series of surprises; it established a playful relationship between one work and another while giving the viewer the chance to get lost inside the exhibition. This allowed certain pieces to acquire more than one meaning, depending on the direction from which they were encountered. The experience of one object became entangled with another: one artwork lending the next a particular reference that permeated its interpretation. The quest to reach the center of the maze then became the search for hidden and unsuspected affinities between the pieces.

 

Each artist was presented with a diagram of the maze as well as a sketch of its main component: a rectangular piece of the wall oriented vertically and subdivided into eight rectangles. The plan included a larger space at the center of the labyrinth where visitors could talk and spend some time. Based on this design, artists envisioned their participation in different ways: Gabriel Kuri for example, covered one of the labyrinth’s dead ends with bright pink tarp – effectively creating a room of his own, reminiscent of a typical street market stall – in which a single light bulb shone above a small landscape made from patches of fresh moss separated by newspaper. This work introduced a shift in light and temperature, as well as a different smell in relation to the rest of the path. It referenced the “freshness” and “temperature” of a news story while inviting a heightened awareness of the senses. 

 

According to Ortega, “Elephant Juice aimed to incite a tangible, physical attraction between diverse inanimate objects, situations and spaces by setting up an environment marked by a certain tension, alternating viewing conditions and combining living elements with inorganic artifacts.” One of the pieces that transmitted this unmediated physical tension was a performance by Javier Rodríguez, who walked around the labyrinth for hours, balancing a glass of water on his head, only to drink it at the end of the night. Viewers who witnessed this precarious balancing act became accomplices to the action, subject to the same pull exerted between the artworks.

 

Lawrence Weiner decided to include one of his trademark, stenciled phrases that declared “varying degrees of damage done to the same thing”. Weiner’s statement, printed on white potato sacks, provided the backdrop for the center stage of the maze: a sculpture by Rirkrit Tiravanija inspired by Enzo Mari’s designs in the form of a hexagon, crowned with a steel pole. Tiravanija invited a professional female poledancer to perform and activate this piece while visitors sat or stood around commenting the exhibition. She was covered with Dr Lakra’s drawings, creating the illusion that one of his pin-up girl posters had come to live.

 

The first part of the show’s title, Elephant Juice, comes from a phrase you mouth without uttering a sound in order to deceive someone into thinking you are saying “I love you.” It was originally the title to a film that Ortega saw while he was living in Brazil, which had been translated as “Sexo entre amigos” [Sex between friends] in order to make it more shocking to the public and commercially appealing. The dislocation between the English and the Spanish translation of the title fascinated Ortega, who found it a deliberate exercise in misunderstanding. The dissolution of meaning in the title speaks of the space left open for each viewer’s interpretation of the show, the same space activated by each and everyone’s participation.

 

Food was served during the afternoon and a live band played on a stage next to the labyrinth until it was time to close down. Each individual was made responsible of curating his own experience, free to traverse the space and create a different exhibition. This relationship was described by Ortega in an interview: “paths are created inside the labyrinth, they close off; different levels at different heights demand our attention but they are constantly negotiated and transformed… they are spaces in continuous fluctuation. ”

 


List of artists included in Elephant Juice (Sexo entre amigos):

 

Damián Ortega
Gabriel Orozco
Daniel Guzmán
Monika Sosnowska
Luisa Lambri
Lawrence Weiner
Dr Lakra
Eduardo Abaroa
Abraham Cruzvillegas
Sofía Táboas
Anselm Reyle
Javier Rodríguez
Mauricio Rocha
Enrique Metinides
Gabriel Kuri
Luis Felipe Ortega
Rirkrit Tiravanija
Jonathan Hernández
Marine Hugonnier