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36 Hours in Mexico City

Among the largest cities in the world, and home to world-class art institutions like Jumex and Tamayo (currently exhibiting Ragnar Kjartansson’s first major show in LatAm), the two leading art fairs of the region; Zona Maco and Material (due again in February) and offering a gallery scene that puts most others to shame; art in CDMX is a whole vibe of it's own. Actually, the whole city is a vibe. Third time's a charm, and we're back a third consecutive year to expand on an ongoing rapport with this place. Time is scarce sometimes when faced with this level and amount of vastness but take these documented footsteps as something resembling a compact gallery map/guide that would come handy if you should find yourself in CDMX soon.

Ente Vítreo, Campeche, Mexico City, 2023 Courtesy of the artist and Campeche, Mexico City Image credits: Ramiro Chaves

Campeche is currently presenting emerging CDMX-based painter Alicia Ayanegui’s first solo show at the gallery which puts mundane objects in the studio to the fore. The show marks a new direction for the artist shifting from darkness to light. An exhibition of great subtlety and quite understated at prima facie; expect some works that are no less than striking. Ayanegui's paintings have previously been exhibited in group exhibitions at Mexican powerhouse-galleries Galeria OMR and kurimanzutto.

Campeche 130, Roma Sur, Cuauhtémoc

Paloma Contreras Lomas, Sombras nada más (Espíritu TV), installation view. Photo: C-print

Next stop on our gallery tour is Pequod Co., a gallery that opened in 2020 during the pandemic but has quickly risen to prominence with participation at Art Basel Miami already in its second year (and every year since). On view right now is a very accomplished solo exhibition by Paloma Contreras Lomas who was recently featured by Artnet as an artist to watch in 2024. The exhibition which presents video, installation, soft sculpture, sketches and large-scale painting is emphasized by a lot in the smaller format. Disturbing, puzzling and very rich in detail; one that we’ll surely remember throughout in the year.

Lancaster 29, Juárez, Cuauhtémoc, CDMX

Also; returning to Peana (a discovery last year) that has one of the best spaces (the light and the ceiling height!) in the city. Currently on view is A Room of Her Own; a duo exhibition with American artist Louis Eisner (sidenote; Ashley Olsen's husband) and Vienna-based Lukas Gschwandter which juxtaposes the former’s sculptures and paintings with the latter’s architectural works. 

Danielle Firoozi, Let me cascade from my highest ground, curated by Eleanna Anagnos, Cromatica, 2023-2024. Photo: C-print

We are too pleased as well to have caught American-Iranian artist Danielle Firoozi's ongoing solo exhibition Let me cascade from my highest ground at Cromatica (first time visiting!), curated by CDMX-based artist/curator Eleanna Anagnos. It was a delight meeting Danielle in the space earlier for a tour of the exhibition which presents a new body of work in materials ranging from synthetic hair, resin, aluminium, foam and flock. The "juxta" of materials, the painted floor and the clever ways the works have been installed, in what could be considered a ”tricky” space with pillars and low ceiling height, make altogether for a display of arresting beauty. It runs until January 20; make it a priority if in the city anytime soon.

Peana, Tlaxcala 103, Roma Sur, Cuauhtémoc, 06760 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

Cromatica, Av. Amatlan 37-int pb, Colonia Condesa, Cuauhtémoc, CDMX

Laura Langer, Execution/Ejecucíon, installation view, Lodos, 2023-2024. Photo: C-print

Another must-visit space in the city is Lodos that also has a presence in Cologne since last year by way of ECHO. The current show titled Execution/Ejecucíon is Argentinan-born Städelschule graduate Laura Langer’s first proper gallery show in Latin America since relocating to Europe over ten years ago. Currently based in Berlin, her work has previously been exhibited at Portikus in Frankfurt (a solo holding only one work in the main space) and in group shows at galleries including Clearing (Brussels/New York), Galerie Eva Presenhuber (Zürich) and Weiss Falk (Basel).

Shana Hoehn and Milagros Rojas, Shudders and Perforations, Deli Gallery, installation view, 2023-2024. Photo C-print.

Lastly, a pleasant surprise this time around is learning that Deli Gallery has opened doors to a space in the city since our last visit, last year. Quite unassuming from the outside, behind a black door hides a gorgeous townhouse-like space where a two-person exhibition titled Shudders and Perforations with Shana Hoehn and Milagros Rojas spreads across serveral rooms on two different floors. The dialogue between Rojas’ captivating drawings, Hoehn’s intricate mixed media sculpture (the shapes!) and the space itself is just sensational.

Missing in action: Some reputable galleries are currently closed, preparing for exhibitions to open during art week/fair week in February. House of Gaga has closed its space in the city since our last visit and now runs a new venue instead in Guadalajara.

Koshik Zaman


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