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Arts

Mois de la Photo: Gustavo Artigas

Posted by Sisi / October 10, 2007

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Photo: Excerpt from "Tres Tiempos (2007)," Courtesy of the artist, and of Galeria Hilario Galguera and Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes

Gustavo Artigas: Tres Tiempos, 7 September to 13 October 2007 at Galerie B-312 (372 Sainte-Catherine St. West, room 403); presented as part of the 10th edition of Mois de la Photo

Galerie B-312 is essentially one of those hole-in-the-wall places. Past the deceptively modest entrance, I was surprised to find that it housed 4 floors of artist-run spaces. Gustavo Artigas’ Tres Tiempos (Three Times, 2007) is hosted in room 403, a plain white cell with concrete flooring. Consisting of 27 photographic prints and a short video, the work documents a rigged collision; the video is shot from the perspective of the driver while the pictures show the “accident” from the pedestrian’s point of view.

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Photo: Excerpt from "Tres Tiempos (2007)," Courtesy of the artist, and of Galeria Hilario Galguera and Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes

Produced over three days at 4 PM in Rosas Moreno St. (Mexico City), Tres Tiempos dissects a scene of violence and offers it up to us like a collection of transfixed insects. And yet, the brutality of the work still reaches us; we feel every bump and shock of the pedestrian’s tumble, both through the video and the pictures. Therein lies the irony: despite the coldness of a gallery setting and the flatness of the two-dimensionality of the media, we still manage to respond to Tres Tiempos in a visceral manner.

The accompanying press release suggests that Artigas doesn’t necessarily mean to criticize our society’s obsession with violence, but merely to recreate it as part of our daily lives. And indeed, the Media Education Foundation estimates that, “by the time the average child is eighteen years old, they will have witnessed 200,000 acts of violence and 16,000 murders.” (Fact sheets downloadable here.)

Whereas car chases in films tend to feature stylized tricks and shitty dialogue, Artigas’ images are devoid of any frills. By freeze framing a violent scene, Tres Tiempos invites us to forget our media saturation by experiencing the images as a human event.

** Update: Gustavo Artigas has won the Dazibao Award on October 5, 2007. He will be given the opportunity to produce a book as a part of edition Dazibao’s of Les portables series. (Do I know how to pick 'em or what?)

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