The Art of the Every Day – Review of Israel Martinez at the MUCA

Part 1

MUCA Roma – insurgentes Sur 3000, Centro Cultural Universitario, Delegación Coyoacán,C.P. 04510, Ciudad de México. TEL: 5622 6972 Exhibition dates through end of January

When walking around the bustle and hustle of Mexico City it is easy to forget to stop and look around. This city with 9 million inhabitants is filled with subtle human moments that just pass us buy. Israel Martinez born in 1979 a photographer and video artist originally from Guadalajara Jalisco, capture moments of human existence in a simple, poetic and reflective way. “Dislocation” which is on show now at the MUCA (Museo Universitario de Ciencia y Arte) curated by Ivan Edeza, is a photographic experience mixed with video, installation and sound. This show is a compilation of his work recently done at his residency with “The Artist in Berlin Program” from 2012-2013. In each of his pieces there is a feeling as if they could be a snap shot into our own lives, each frame, show a real reflections on how perhaps the world around us moves way to fast.  Just like when gazing into his projected hypnotic ocean waves crashing on the floor of the museum,  we need to stop, listen, and create our own space.

The first floor was very rhythmic. The videos were smaller and placed on a loop that communicated with each other. The beginning of some were the endings of others and the narrative was constructed by the location of the photographs and videos. Here the imagery was perhaps common yet universal.

“And Also the Trees” Video 1’45”
Still image of videp

The video clips of trees passing through a window , the stillness of a small town that is suddenly disrupted by the crossing of the train all seem to bring some personal memory of my own, I too have been there and perhaps other viewers too.

Second floor was curated brilliantly . Each room had its own video and sound, creating a space of its own. There was a phrase describing the work as you entered the dimly lit room saying “Los dias se precipitan a velocidad angustiante se adelgazan, se esfumen cuando apenas comienzan a formarse “Fadellini. (Days precipitate in a distressing speed that is slim, vanishing just when they begin to form). That was the feeling of the first video one encountered.  A woman slowly collected shells from the ocean as children and waves played around her. Despite, all the frolicking and play of those around her, she was in her own meditative state. The viewer was encourage to sit down and contemplate this video as there were three small stools set up in front of the human size projection on the wall.

“Paraiso” Video 8’33”

In another room there were some small more intimate videos and a series of photographs of people crossing a dusty road carrying grocery supplies to their cars. The wind that blew up against them made this simple task of taking ones purchases to a car appear as if they were fighting a battle in some forgotten waist-land. Another larger space was filled with a sound that was threatening you as one entered it’s space. The dark room was filled  with what seemed to be sounds of bombs or perhaps gun shots echoing in the distance, only to reveal a single photograph of a man hidden behind a tennis rack. This perhaps was a little bit to literal, but when revealing the image one discovers that the sounds one was listening to was that of a game of racket ball. The once threatening bomb sounds were merely the balls hitting the floor and the racket hitting back. Despite the obvious image of the guy hidden behind the racket, this was one of the most emotive piece in the show.

“fusilado” Sound Installation

Israel Martinez captured human moments using diverse mediums to evoke our everyday surroundings. Blurring the lines of art and real life even as one exited the Museum. A sound of  shouts and voices was heard in the Museum steps as if there was some sort of political protest in the streets.  However once looking up you could see two large speakers projecting sounds that were originally recorded at a Lucha Libre fight in Guadalajara Jalisco. Title “Martes de Glamour“  (Glamorous Tuesdays) is representative of what the locals call these games. Israel Martinez’s work is thoughtful, provocative and simply made the ordinary into a meditation. Leaving the show I no longer felt like I was in a City that was hustling and bustling, rather I began to expect that around every corner there was an art piece that was just waiting to be captured.

Sound Installation outside MUCA

For more information MUCA website