“Atopia: Migration, Heritage and Placelessness”, with Jonathas de Andrade and Paulo Nazareth

(Guadalajara, Mexico)

Jonathas de Andrade‘s and Paulo Nazareth‘s works can be seen in the group exhibition “Atopia: Migración, Legado y Ausencia de Lugar” [“Atopia: Migration, Heritage and Placelessness”], which integrates the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary collection. Other artists on view are Allora & Calzadilla, Taysir Batniji, John Bock, Monica Bonvicini, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Mario García Torres, Carl Michael von Hausswolff & Thomas Nordanstad, Mathilde ter Heijne, Sanja Ikevović, Brad Kahlhamer, Los Carpinteros, Rivane Neuenschwander, Walid Raad, The Atlas Group, Alex Rodríguez and Do Ho Suh.

Atopia, a word mainly used in medicine and philosophy, literally means placelessness, out of place, unclassifiable and of high originality. It is, in its traditional use, at the same time, a category of otherness, difference, expulsion and exclusion, as it is a reference to the ineffable, the pristine and the absolute. It is in this double connotation, in which the term becomes a productive figure for thinking in addressing the various ways in which artists have dealt with ideas of place, geography, migration, heritage, the crossing of national, social and cultural borders. The atopic is here but not here, it is a position which denies location, perhaps an attitude that relates to an “original” cultural or social experience but at the same time diffuses it or remains at distance.

Thus the exhibition focuses on the practices and representations of the ways in which artists have accessed, participated in and negotiated concepts of “place” or “place of origin,” their past, heritage, and cultural ambiguities, with all the dilemmas such notions provoke. What seems to be just a geographic denotation comes with an apparatus of definitions and is grounded in systems of authority. Gradually the geographic denotation of space has shifted in favor of a more fluid and multi-layered meaning, invested with personal and intimate affects and complicated by subjectivities and their interaction. Place-specific and locational narratives have thus become important figures of the artistic expressions of the past decade, but also projective sites of stereotyping simplifications. Artistic exploration of geographies through mappings, landscapes, descriptions of sites, places, collection of cultural objects, historical inscriptions and personal research, as well as the shifting political implications in language, writing and formal representation are at the nexus of the current exploration.

The show looks at the countersides of the processes of aggregation and homogenization and addresses the ways in which a collection of 21st century art is constructed around the various experiences of difference, in which individuals and collectives participate in different cultural processes and realities. It implies strategies for reclaiming certain histories and place-specificities by way of reasserting territorial representations. The way “localism” is understood in this particular context is not as a reaffirmation of common simplifications but is instead based on productive inquiries and internalization of paradoxes and transitions, which evade categorizations or nostalgic impulses. It also shows how shifting political and economic realities have created new tales of places, and how their histories have sparked the impulse to document the rapid processes of transformation set into motion by new “continental shifts”.

“Atopia: Migración, Legado y Ausencia de Lugar”, group show with Jonathas de Andrade and Paulo Nazareth
On view until the 5th October
Visiting hours: Tues-Sun: 10am – 6pm
Thurs: 10am – 10pm
Closed on Mondays

Museo de Arte de Zapopan
Andador 20 de Noviembre, 166
Zapopan, Mexico
T: (33) 38 18 25 75

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