The new energy is spinning off the 10-year-old CIFO Art Space, founded by Ella Fontanals-Cisneros and run by the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation.
CIFO is presenting Not Me: Subject to Change, the 2012 CIFO Grants and Commissions program exhibition, drawn from the institution’s annual commission of work by Latin American artists. The title Not Me refers to the theory of “not-me’’ transition, conceived by the late 20th century British psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott — the idea that we all move from the delusion of our bodies as master of the universe to a world of shared experiences, fraught with disillusionment.
The eight artists in Not Me all refer to the body in some way. Francisca Aninat, a Chilean artist who has shown at the SAC Gallery in New York, contributes a painted canvas quilt ( Untitled N. 4, from the series from South America, 2012). After painting scraps of canvas, Aninat has patients in hospital waiting rooms sew the pieces together.
Julieta Aranda, a Mexican artist who has exhibited at the Venice Biennial, presents Tools for Infinite Monkeys: A striking practical example (and surreptitiously vanished), a 2012 piece drawn from the famed scientific experiment of giving monkeys typewriters and seeing if they could produce a coherent text: the installation charts the text patterns created by lab monkeys, who are partial to the letter “S.”
Tamar Guimaraes, a Brazilian who has been featured in the Sao Paulo Biennale, contributes Silence, 2012, an acetate record endlessly playing the recorded phrase Silence, Please,” from French film sets. The Argentinian Marisa Rubio, who works with fictitious personas, contributes a video work, Project CS: her character Clara S. 1 sees a real-life psychiatrist, while Clara S. 2 becomes a Latin star, Rubio expertly channeling the Kabuki-sexuality of music videos. Glexis Novoa, a Cuba-born artist who lives in Miami, presents Specific Obstacles, 2012, an archeological recreation of a space in Houston with graphite wall drawings.
Marta Maria Perez Bravo of Cuba has created a video installation ( Tangible Apparitions, 2012), with a video image of her own hand, cast in ice. Bravo rubs the ice hand down to nothingness, with the video itself projected on a block of slowly melting ice. Fragments for Human Hands X by the Mexico City-based Eduardo Abaroam, who has exhibited at LA MoCA, is whimsical Rube Goldberg-style sculpture pieced together from objects that are touched by human hands: a lawnmower handle might be attached to a hockey stick or a ship’s wheel.
A standout in Not Me comes from Daniela Ortiz, a Peruvian artist: her installation, Distinction 2012, examines the American penchant for hiring private security companies to do its dirty work, as with Afghanistan, privatized prisons, and the nasty business of detaining and deporting illegal aliens. Ortiz has done some reporting for her work and one long shelf in the installation contains stacks of internal United States government documents. Originally, the installation was intended to have engraved marble floor plates bearing such real-life proclamations as “The citizens of the United States proudly recognize the Akal Security Company...” Because of the controversial nature of Ortiz’s work, the shipping company in Peru refused to deliver to Miami the marble plates Ortiz had ordered.
Ortiz, who comes from a wealthy Peruvian family and now lives in Spain, has raised some eyebrows in her homeland with the artist’s book 97 House Maids. 97 House Maids is a collection of Facebook photos, with maids holding privileged children in the background of each family portrait.
At CIFO recently, Ortiz pointed to one image from the book and underscored her point: “I grew up with the dude in this photo. He’s a real ass…”