Guadalajara design festival Salón Cosa shines the spotlight on Mexican creative talent

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Guadalajara’s culture has always shaped its great masters and artistic movements without the need to seek fame outside of Jalisco or emulate Mexico City’s art scene. During the twentieth century a close-knit design community established the Jalisciense the reputation of the capital as a national and international destination for artists and designers.

From the late 1940s, the modernist movement gathered strength in Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city, with the founding of the School of Architecture in 1948 by Ignacio Díaz Morales. During the first years of the school, European immigrants, including the German photographer Marianne Gast and her husband Mathias Goeritz, supervised the students and taught the Bauhaus method, the “Vorkurs”, a preliminary course focusing on “learning by doing”. This pedagogy was compelling to local artists and designers and supported the flourishing momentum of Modernism in the Mexican city over the following decades, although local figures at the forefront of modernist architecture in Jalisco predated this period. , like Pedro Castellanos Lambley and Julio de la Peña Lomelín.

Within the arts scene, the creation of artistic collectives in the 1990s, such as Guillermo Santamarina’s Corpus Callosum, sparked a powerful search for community and camaraderie within Guadalajara. When artists from Mexico City started exhibiting in Paris, the bone Jaliscienses were well at home, continuing their practice and perfecting their technique. On the other hand, throughout the 90s, prominent New York galleries participated in contemporary art fairs in Guadalajara, such as the cutting edge Expoarte fair, in search of new talent.

Today, Guadalajara continues to vibrate with a scene of creators that follows its rhythm and its genre, whether in textile art, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry or furniture. This was palpable in the second edition of Salón Cosa, a “collection of contemporary objects»Composed of thirteen creators living and working in Guadalajara which took place from October 27 to 31, 2021

“[These creatives] will open our vision to new horizons, to a free and exceptional territory. A territory whose deeply traditional roots are now being reinvented ”, declared the curators of the exhibition Mario Ballesteros and Daniela Elbahara.

After the success of the first Salón, which took place in May 2021 in the former model workshop of the Luis Barragán house and studio in Mexico City, the Salón Cosa GDL moved to the ninth floor of the Hotel Bellwort – formerly Edificio Rosales, designed by de la Peña Lomelín in 1967.

Among the creatives was Aldo Álvarez Tostado, who showed for the second time “Escena de Potrero”. In a sort of provocation, Álvarez Tostado brings Barragán’s spirit back to its much more conservative place of origin with a pair of belts and a saddle engraved with phrases taken from the dating app Grindr. The equestrian artwork alludes to the tension between machismo and queerness, particularly around the life and work of architect Barragán.

In the extension of these provocative lines is the work of Renata petersen, who works with hand-painted ceramics expressing feminine desire and who on this occasion presented “This Dick Ain’t Free”, a text in fused glass.

Ballesteros and Elbahara offer a new art exhibition format that is inclusive, accessible and open to dialogue, mixing “complexity and contradiction, high and low, business with pleasure, meaning and shock, celebration and community building”. Utility items or collectibles, including colorful tripod lamps from Marcelo Suro or hand and wall mirrors from Alejandro García-Contreras, are examples that range from minimal to particular and eccentric.

While some experimented with new scales and proportions, such as textile designers Julia and Renata Franco with their “Mosquito Net Dress” dominating the center of the room, others like Ricardo Luévanos, have transformed for the first time their art into a utilitarian object. His pendant lamp “It Felt Like Crashing Into the Sun”, printed in 3D and painted by hand, is a continuation of his understanding of human and animal anatomy.

Antonio Zaragoza and Kenia Filippini from Liberal Youth Ministry (LYM), who are probably the most important designers in the luxury streetwear scene in the world, designed a 3D printed and hand painted backpack with 13,000 hand-applied Swarovski crystals. While the woolen upholstered benches designed by Péca Studio and the “Biznaga” vessels in the form of a breast by Chamula Hecho a Mano, along with their blue wardrobe, “Tritón” – in collaboration with Pablo Pajarito and Antonio Medrano – was another example of Guadalajara’s creative expression, which won’t slow down anytime soon.

The third iteration is already underway and is expected to open during Art Week in February 2022 at CDMX.


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