A Tacit Agreement
Daniel Garza-UsabiagaResearcher and independent curator
Exhibition text of Un acuerdo tácito, Casa Maauad (Mexico City, 2016).
In Un acuerdo tácito (A tacit agreement) Cristina Garrido presents four new works that continue her ongoing investigation into the system of contemporary art: how values are assigned, who determines this, how images circulate and how this circulation impacts artistic production and the culture of exhibitions. Un acuerdo tácitoexplores issues of art education, the presence and impact of the market, the production and distribution of images via social networks and the figure of the curator in relationship to the exhibition.
In The ‘culture of this course’ (2016), Garrido reproduced three evaluations from an undergraduate drawing course she took while on exchange in London. Her tutors’ comments on these documents prescribe certain conditions and expectations for appropriate artistic production. The evaluation implies the development of a set of specific solutions. The large graphite reproductions are a clear reference to drawing as a medium, making obvious the role of vocational education within a broader system of production.
An Unholly Alliance (2016) is a work that looks at art magazines and compares the number of pages devoted to advertising to the pages with textual content. Garrido culls from six magazines with international circulation: Artforum, Frieze, Modern Painters, MOUSSE, ArtReview and Art Monthly. The pages of each magazine are reconstructed into spherical volumes in the manner of paper mache. Set on a table, the objects resemble a collection of stones. However on closer look, these stones show the disparity between the large number of pages of advertising (paid for by commercial galleries, public institutions, biennials, fairs and other recurring events) and the shrinking critical content of printed publications.
For La vida social de 'Untilled (Liegender Frauenakt)' (2016), Garrido used the hashtag #pierrehuyghe on Instagram in order to track documentation of a sculpture by the French artist. The photos include the first time Untilled (Liegender Frauenakt) was shown at dOCUMENTA 13 in 2012 as well as its display at different venues in which the exhibition travelled: the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Hayward Gallery in London, LACMA in Los Angeles and MoMA in New York, where it was acquired as part of its permanent collection. Compiling these images, the artist created a stop-motion video showing the various angles and scenarios in which the sculpture appeared for almost three years - its social life, as the video’s title references. The piece indirectly also reveals changes in the use of Instagram; for example, the excessive use of filters during the app’s first couple of years, which then tends to fade over time.
Instagram is also at the root of the piece Aerial photography does not create space but registers surfaces (2016). In this work Garrido collects photographs taken from airplanes by more than 25 international curators. Rather than point out a certain lifestyle of these figures, the artist emphasizes the role of the curator as a producer of images through exhibitions, publications and other media. Garrido presents these images in a manner that resembles a contemporary art exhibition, where the photographs are reproduced in various sizes, on different surfaces and sometimes in formats that are not limited to two dimensions. Garrido returns to her interest in the phenomenon of the exhibition and the various forms of display that are now common on and are determined by the circulation of images through the internet, social networks and other digital platforms.