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abraham cruzvillegas - the ballad of etc.

the arts club of chicago
september 12 - december 21, 2019
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abraham cruzvillegas, detail of esculturas pendientes, kurimanzutto, mexico city, 2019

Assembling works from materials sourced in both Chicago and Michoacán, his ancestral home in the West of Mexico, artist Abraham Cruzvillegas meditates on the nature of rootedness and drift in The Ballad of Etc. Fabricated on site, the constructions draw upon the traditional Mexican lacquer technique known as “maque” to produce new imagery that is juxtaposed with found materials and products made by Chicago’s skilled workers—cast concrete, stone carving, and carpentry. The assemblages take off from conceptual sketches drawn by the artist with recurring motifs such as the intersecting circles of a Venn Diagram or linear polyhedron —forms that suggest a series of possible social structures. The migratory connections between Chicago’s laboring class and Mexico’s indigenous peoples reflect in the contingent nature of Cruzvillegas’s fabrications—each assume temporary configurations that can be dismantled easily and then reassembled at will. Similar to the autoconstruccións, or self-constructions, for which Cruzvillegas is known, this exhibition considers shelter and home by questioning the value of repurposed resources. As Cruzvillegas explains, “these [elements] compose a beautiful and problematic aesthetic discussion about borders, intolerance, and society splitting.”

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