minerva cuevas - the story of a mountain, the history of a country
For this exhibition, Minerva Cuevas works with tezontle based on reflections centered around the geography of Mexico City and its volcanoes. Her interest began, in the first place, after having studied the writings of Ezequiel Ordóñez, who paved the way for the industrial extraction of petroleum in Mexico in 1994, and continued after reflected on the concepts of “territory” and “nation,” bound to Mexico’s pre-Hispanic and colonial past. Cuevas utilizes tezontle as a material that is tied to the process of volcanic eruption and close to the element of fire.
In this case the material comes from the Xaltepec Volcano in the Sierra de Santa Catarina, a mountain range located to the east of Mexico City. In pre-Hispanic times tezontle from the Xaltepec Volcano was used to construct the House of the Eagles in México-Tenochtitlan, what is now known as the Templo Mayor.
As of the 1960s, numerous irregular human settlements proliferated and, though this trend has diminished, the metropolitan area of Mexico City threatens to make the conservation zone disappear. The Santa Catarina mountain range is also one of the poorest regions of the Mexican capital.
Through her exhibition and by using these materials, Cuevas poses questions that go beyond mere matters of aesthetics: How do we think about the relationships between social man and the earth? What role do concepts such as subject, power, alterity, and environment play? What role does the social play in a reflection on territory and space? How might we revive the individual, and not just society, as a geographic agent? Is it possible to have a social space integrated with nature?