Part of KNOWN UNKNOWNS
21 MARCH – 24 JUNE 2018
•⠀ Alida Cervantes’ paintings reimagine the perceived boundaries upon which social, economic, and political conditions remain contingent. Raised in the border city of Tijuana, Mexico, the artist’s home environment instilled from an early age a sense of Mexico’s hierarchical binaries of race, class and culture. Cervantes’ vivid historical paintings mask a reality in which social and political disparities play out on two levels, both within the intimate social structures of the artist’s home life and in the actuality of the political border that constitutes an impenetrable threshold for many Mexican citizens. The city of Tijuana provides the springboard into a painterly investigation of the actions, relationships and perceptions of Mexico’s cross-cultural and multi-ethnic society.
•⠀ In her series of paintings inspired by Mexico’s casta paintings of the seventeenth and eighteenth century, Cervantes’ imagines the Spanish colonial caste system in Mexico with its strict racial taxonomies and hierarchies. Her engagement with this distinct racial make-up invites the viewer to re-imagine colonial experience by emphasising the deliberate erasure of black bodies from history. Spain’s conquest and subsequent colonisation of Mexico is animated by an overt vulgarity (Matadora, 2011), while other paintings skew representations to complicate classical and abstract formations. The unfolding narrative of domination, subjugation, and submission between individuals plays out through a range of figurative scenarios tainted by sex and violence. Scenes of male castration and bloody revenge that typify the artist’s tongue-in-cheek approach to painting (Horizonte En Calma, 2011) reveal the politics of Mexico’s increasingly hybridised identities.
•⠀ #AlidaCervantes #saatchi #saatchigallery #saatchigallerylondon - 10 months ago