EL ECO Experimental Museum, Mexico City, Mex.
Curatorship: Guillermo Santamarina.
The El Eco building is a sculpture by Mathias Goeritz that undergoes periodical reinventions. Visitors, and above all, the actions of artists invited to reconfigure this site refund its essence. They retake the rules established by the author more than five decades ago and enliven the veins for its constant beat. With the project of Francisco Ugarte, an artist and architect born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, in 1973, there is an announcement for a dimensional expedition, a return to the structures and outlines that come about from observation of the architectural surroundings, but also a stroll across dilatation of abstract planes and the geometry that Goeritz planted according to his esthetic reflexes.
Auto- is, as Ugarte defines it, a trans-dimensional exercise that slides with the installations of mirrors on the patio of El Eco. It intends to deepen the perception of the spectators in accordance to the geographical spot where they direct their gaze. At the same time, by expanding brain faculties, this piece attempts an orchestration that subventions an acknowledgement of all possible genre of irradiations.
This exercise awakes remembrances about similar inquiries. For instance, a chapter of the experimentation of Michelangelo Pistoletto (Biella, Italy, 1933), one of the most outstanding artists of the Arte Povera, justifies the use of mirrors in a work of art with a brilliant phrase: “I adopted the mirror as a resource because one must assume the responsibility of knowing oneself.” To see oneself as a part on an integrated wholeness, in an effort to link the symbolic character that implies the reproduction of the image as foundations for self-healing, and truly, progress of the social limits. Ugarte’s work also reminds us about the refractions of Dan Graham, one of the founders of the Land Art movement. Here, a passage seems to blend with the exterior topography and the dispositions of interior planes or the public light wideness’s that melt under the guard of a private cosmos.
The mirror displacement in Robert Smithson’s Yucatán (1968) where the conception of the scenery translates as the travel incidents of the mirror itself constitutes another precedent of this work.
There is a plethora of examples: some of them integrated to millenary mythology, to Narcissisms, to revealing chimeras, to catastrophic legends or even toward other self-reflection models. These integrate their signs in a conciliatory clarification about sublimation in accordance to psychology: a defense mechanism of the psyche that consists of changing the object of desire, generating a thrusting demand on the subject. The subject changes the object and desexualizes it to make it go through conscience, since all our desires become repressed and installed in the subconscious mind. Sublimation is like a form of cheating on our conscious mind to achieve the sublimed object. In this way, desire is derived and achieved or attempted using a different path, for instance, by carrying out socially prestigious tasks: art, religion, science, politics, techno,logy… Francisco Ugarte’s installation drives one to constant premises within the field of philosophy: the myth of a cavern, described by Plato in the 7th book of The Republic, which metaphorically explains the situation in which the human being stands concerning knowledge.
Auto- is, seen from a physical plane, a tautological phenomenon that intends to widen its spaces (in a virtual way), by generating a possible architecture within the already existing one. It proposes an alternate path that comes about from the individual displacement of those who pass across it, pointing to an extraordinary situation and conquering another step in our introspection climbing.
Museo Experimental El Eco- Summer 2008