"Swiss Above All Others" is the English translation of the creepy title for the first exhibition of 2008 at La Colección Jumex, the contemporary art collection belonging to juice magnate Eugenio Lopez Alonso and said to be the largest private collection in Latin America. The gallery is located at the stark industrial Jumex plant on the northern outskirts of metropolitan Mexico City, and we were there Saturday night for the opening. The sparse but satisfying show, organized by Jumex curator Michel Blancsube, features mostly Swiss artists such Urs Fischer, Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Ugo Rondinone, Thomas Hirschhorn, and Pipilotti Rist.
Today, my feature piece on the show was published in The News, the city's recently revived English-language daily (and incidentally where I started my career). There's no Web version, though, so I'm going to reprint an excerpt below:
Perhaps the final surprise in "Schweiz Über Alles" is that the most commanding piece is not by a Swiss artist at all, but by a rising Mexican. The Jumex foundation commissioned a young Mexico City-trained artist known only as Moris for an installation he titled "Hermoso paisaje No. 5 (el baldio)."
The piece is tucked away upstairs, to the right of the collection’s private library. To take it in, the viewer must use a ladder and bedding to climb over a rough wooden wall topped with barb wire. You descend to the ground by stepping down several platforms made from crates. Along each platform is an array of found objects from the streets of the megacity. First tools, then small toys, then watches and rusty jewelry, then piles of used shoes, then bundles of the "red note" daily La Prensa, a local paper famous for delighting in the blood and gore of crime and accident scenes. On the floor, footprints from previous visitors are visible in a thick layer of dirt.
"The street is my laboratory," Moris told reporters last week. "I like to say it’s like entering into Hell, and returning with the evidence."
And below, an image from the Moris installation, taken during Thursday's press conference at the plant.
* Contact me if you would like to view the whole text to the piece.