The preeminent fair in Latin America that cemented Mexico City on the international art circuit celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
With 212 exhibitors from 25 countries, this year’s edition of ZⓈONAMACO maintained its intimate curation of contemporary and modern art, design, photography, and antiques. In celebration of the 20th anniversary, ZⓈONAMACO announced the debut of FORMA, a unique anniversary program that invites galleries with a longstanding history at the fair to present historical or site-specific projects and the Erarta Foundation ZⓈONAMACO Art Prize, a groundbreaking $100,000 award split between the artist whose work is selected and the gallery representing them will. A unique feature of the prize is that fair attendees will determine the awardee on the final day rather than a traditional jury.
In the general section, Bode Gallery presented a vibrant multi-layered tapestry by Abdoulaye Konaté, whose practice balances commemorating and communicating an ancestral past with contemporary socio-political issues. Luis López-Chávez geometric paintings and playful graffitied rug explore the visual dimensions of sculptural form and logical space based on the frictions between geometrical forms and the socio-historical context. Matthew Eguavoen captures tender moments in his paintings to address the societal, economic, and political views across the complex intersectionality Nigerians face in different facets of life. Artist José Manuel Mesías’s intimate, muted paintings are rooted in Cuba’s past and contemporary context, revealing personal and collective histories.
Cristin Tierney Gallery
Cristin Tierney Gallery’s program concentrates on artists engaging with critical theory and art history, which is present in the works by Claudia Bitrán, François Bucher, Alois Kronschlaeger, and Francisco Ugarte. Claudia Bitrán’s Degas-inspired works depicting the hyperbolic world of social media look to back up dancers from Brittney Spears’s choreographer’s Instagram to provide the movement in her wispy pastels. Noting her goal “is to present candid, vulnerable, and spectacular points of inflection that these young bodies perform.” The flow of Claudia’s dancers’ contrasts with Alois Kronschlaeger, Francisco Ugarte, and François Bucher’s rigid architectural and text-based works exploring time, space, light, multi-dimensional fields, and science fiction, such as time “travel.”
Luis Maluf Galeria de Arte
For their debut at the fair, São Paulo’s dynamic contemporary space Luis Maluf Galeria de Arte presented Roots and Connections: Unveiling Brazilian Cultural Depth and Artistic Bonds with work focused on the pillars of exhibiting, studying, and promoting the plurality of Brazilian culture. Jaguar healer and indigenous artist Bu’ú Kennedy’s dyed wooden marquetry is a testament to the strength and desire to protect his culture and the environment; Edu Silva’s simple cardboard and linen compositions provoke reflections on territorial tensions, leading the viewer into an intriguing reflective universe. Janet Vollebgregt’s stone and metal sculptural works explore the convergence between architecture, visual arts, and the energy of minerals, with a large central piece representing chakra alignment.
YAM Gallery, whose mission is to promote and make contemporary art accessible to a vast public, showcased new works by acclaimed Mexican artist Betsabeé Romero’s gold embellished and engraved tires sourced from the used tire shops around her neighbourhood, and delicate Labyrinths graphite drawings are timely testament addressing the issues of migration, displacement, the environment and the everyday life of those in her community. Complemented by Morelense Cisco Jiménez, whose work was described by curator Tobías Ostrander as “attractive, playful and uncomfortable,” reflecting the multifaceted Mexican cultural identity, which equally includes the culture pop, antiquity, spirituality, humour, and science.
São Paulo’s Galeria Lume’s presentation continued to foster and encourage the development of contemporary creative processes of Brazilian artist. Lucas Dupin Belo Horizonte utilized books as his sculpture medium, painting and manipulating them with meditative shapes and scenes on the universe of books, nature, and the transience present in everyday life. Ana Vitória Mussi Santa Catarina, sepia-hued microfilms from 1994 and black silk works aim to provoke subtle poetics of resistance, offer, through artistic language, a field for social criticism, especially about the ambiguity aroused by media images. Osvaldo Gaia Belém’s organic cut dark wood and bronze mounted sculptures were built through his research and experimentation in the Amazon, conceptually detecting oneself in social, architectural, economic, and related issues.
Galleria Anna Marra
Galleria Anna Marra focused on valorizing emerging and middle-career talents and shared three artists whose artistic practice is a form of self-care and identity affirmation. Negin Mahoun’s delicate linen fabrics with printed images constrained behind glass frames are an observation of her memories of cultural and gender identity, using sewing to connect to her family’s professional heritage. Sepideh Salehi’s research, through a variety of media spanning from printing, photography, and video animation, often using traditional Iranian patterns, revolves around the poetics of the veil, an accessory that is by nature used to cover, obscure, or protect. Andrés Anza’s variety of earth-toned ceramics creates amorphous beings from an ecosystem built from the artist’s imagination.
LAMB Gallery, a space advocating for young talent through a constant exchange of artistic projects between London and São Paulo, continued the cultural conversation with artists Alma Berrow, Bea Bonafini, Renata de Bonis, Pippa El-Kadhi Brown, Jacques Douchez, Sheila Hicks, Merve Iseri, Amadeo Luciano Lorenzato, Robert Mangold, Tiago Mestre, and Paula Turmina. Standouts included Alma Berrow’s hedonistic earthenware still-life sculptures of overflowing ashtrays, messy bathrooms, and drug-sprinkled game tables, which lend an elicit feeling to the familiar. The colourful, surreal worlds of Bea Bonafini, Paula Turmina, and Merve Iser are compelling scenes of personal desires, archetypal allegories, and speculation on our relationship with the land and earth.
Galería Karen Huber
Galeria Karen Huber is Mexico City’s only program focused solely on painting, and the variety of styles in their presentation is a testament to their mission of discussing and questioning the state of contemporary painting. Lucía Vidales, Allan Villavicencio’s distorted, abstract works observe how the fragments in his daily environment seek the visible in unfolded perspectives and the virtuality of the changing state of matter. Andrew Holmquist’s cool-toned, gestural, hyper-realistic scenes explore the unsettled nature of contemporary identity as seen through the lens of an imaginative personal memory. Merike Estna’s bold abstract interpretations of historical paintings blend materialities to communicate compelling personal stories on motherhood, the body, and creative expression. Luis Hampshire’s geometric earthy works explore diverse ways of interpreting compositions and paintings, mixing figurative and abstract forms to leave the perception of the works to the viewer.
Sean Kelly Gallery, highly regarded for its diverse, intellectually driven program and a highly regarded roster of artists, presented a unique salon-style viewing for its return to ZⓈONAMACO. The booth is divided into thematic categories of abstraction and representational works by some of the gallery’s most renowned artists. The abstract wall featured works by Jose Dávila, Andreas Eriksson, Ilse D’Hollander, Callum Innes, Donald Judd, Idris Khan, Sam Moyer, Loló Soldevila, and Janaina Tschäpe “fosters the artistic connections, highlighting shared themes despite their distinct styles. For instance, the repetition in Donald Judd’s woodcut print resonates with Idris Khan’s nuanced emphasis on linear compositions inspired by Marcel Duchamp”. The representational wall featuring works by Edgar Degas, Awol Erizku, Antony Gormley, Laurent Grasso, Robert Mapplethorpe, Hugo McCloud, and Andy Warhol. juxtaposed contemporary and historical works with an exploration of portraiture and still-life. “Laurent Grasso’s new paintings, depicting plant mutations, in the style of 18th and 19th-century botanical plates introduce a surreal and fantastical element. Edgar Degas provides a classical element with a charcoal sketch from a dance rehearsal, capturing gestures and movements with emotive intensity. Awol Erizku’s riff on Marcel Duchamp’s infamous readymade, L.H.O.O.Q., 1919, addresses issues of race, representation, and value in the canon of Western art history”. The booth was anchored by a Jose Dávila sculpture with large form works by Marina Abramović, James Casebere, Julian Charrière, and Hugo McCloud, adding to the conversation in separate corners.
80m2 Livia Benavides and Galeria Leme
Galeria Leme and Galeria Livia Benavides 80m2 present a joint project that tackles the diversity of their programs. Galeria Leme has promoted contemporary art, through the representation of artists from different generations and perspectives and 80m2 Livia Benavides specializes in Latin American conceptual art. The most prominent spotlight in their booth was Sandra Gamarra’s placid triptych scene, in which the triangular shapes at the base of the sculpture are a nod to the history of Peruvian religious art and questions, as noted by Max Hernández Calvo, “What makes it possible to recognize a work of art as such, as opposed to a cult object and, by extension, to the whole universe of non-artistic objects?”. Ximena Garrido-Lecca’s copper woven tapestry, with a nod to pre-Columbian abstraction and consumer culture, is part of a series exploring copper’s importance in Peru’s economy and “the demand for accelerated growth and modernization in the context of a growing economy, under unregulated natural resource extraction, which often does not generate investment in local infrastructure and social welfare but favours corporate gain. Andrés Pereira Paz black lacquer outer worldly sculptures continue his journey into “how the circulation of people and information affects national, regional and global imaginaries.”
Written by Amber Smith