MANCHURIA: PERIPHERAL VISION —A FELIPE EHRENBERG RETROSPECTIVE
May 23 – August 15, 2010
“…an activist of culture; conceived as someone who determinately influences its development without being restrained by previously established restriction…”
--Neologist defined by Felipe Ehrenberg
Manchuria: Peripheral Vision—A Felipe Ehrenberg Retrospective is an exhibition of multimedia works created by Felipe Ehrenberg, one of Mexico’s most influential and iconoclastic contemporary artists. This retrospective exhibition, presented for the first time to audiences in the United States, demonstrates the importance of Ehrenberg’s contribution to a postmodern aesthetic of conceptual, performance, installation and video art from the 1960s to the present. The international touring exhibition of more than 200 works of art surveys Ehrenberg's rich body of work that crosses over decades, cultures and continents.
A self-defined neologist (one who invents or uses new words and forms), Ehrenberg’s work embraces diverse media and linguistic forms of expression including artists books, drawings and prints, mail art, installation, performance, audio recordings and video art. As participants in the international Fluxus movement and touring exhibition, FLUXshoe (1972-73), Ehrenberg and British artist David Mayor founded an independent, artists’ press, Beau Geste Press (1971-1974). The artists were dedicated to printing paper works, often on mimeograph machines and newsprint paper, by visual poets, conceptualists, neo-dadaists and others closely associated with the Fluxus movement. While in London in 1970, his performance piece, A Date with Fate at the Tate, an intervention between the artist and the museum became the first of its kind (an audio recording documentation) to be represented in the permanent collection of the Tate Modern.
After returning to Mexico in the mid-1970s, Ehrenberg formed several local artist collaboratives. The artists associated with Grupo Proceso Pentagono, which blossomed into the Group Movement, are recognized as pioneers of Mexican conceptual art. The artists’ group, H2O (Haltos 2 Ornos) Talleres de Comunicación, engaged with local communities and their efforts resulted in the production of more than 1,000 murals in Mexican villages. In the 1980s, Ehrenberg championed political and social causes, first campaigning for congressional office as a member of PSUM (Partido Socialista Unificado de México) and later as a community activist and humanitarian. In the wake of the Mexican and Central American earthquakes of 1985-86, he founded Barrio a Barrio, a self-help program dedicated to rebuilding the villages of Tepito, Mexico and San Jacinto, San Salvador.
Ehrenberg’s political activism and artistic practice received attention in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s. In 1984, he offered a series of lectures on Art and Politics at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and in 1988 he expanded the topic to include, Making Things Visible: the Artist as Activist. In 1990, he published, Codex Aeroscriptus Ehrenbergensis, an anthology of Ehrenberg stencil-based works at Nexus Press in Atlanta, Georgia. In response to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Proposition 187, a 1994 ballot initiative about illegal immigration which was eventually overturned in Federal Court, Ehrenberg assembled the site-specific installation, Light Up Our Border I, at the Archer Huntington Gallery, University of Texas, Austin and the border installations at InSite ’94 and InSite ’97 San Diego/Tijuana. In 2000, he published a bilingual (English/Spanish) survival-guide art manual for artists titled, El Arte de Vivir del Arte / The Art of Living from Art. Between 2000 and 2006, Ehrenberg was the Cultural Attaché for the Mexican Embassy in São Paulo, Brazil, where he continues to live and work.
Through Ehrenberg’s visual dialogue, the exhibition’s narrative discourse offers a historic review of the postmodern paradigms of blurred borders, the dismantling of institutional structures and the undermining of master narratives. His exploration of the unorthodox, the innovative and the experimental are revealed in his textual and visual binaries of anarchism and resistance and empowerment and engagement. Ehrenberg’s practice has informed several generations of artists. Guillermo Gómez-Peña, California’s seminal Mexican performance artist describes Ehrenberg in his Manchuria exhibition catalog essay (2007) as, “his padrino conceptual, conceptual goD.F.ather who has left a mark on three generations of rebellious artists in different countries.”
For the MOLAA exhibition, Ehrenberg will create a new work, a portable mural, in collaboration with Richard Wearn, artist and professor of art at CSULA and his graduate students in the sculpture department. The Partitura Visual or visual score is “composed” by Ehrenberg based on recurring elements and stencil forms. The group will collectively interpret and create the final work. MOLAA is grateful to CSULA for this collaboration and to the Pasadena Art Alliance for funding this commissioned work to be accessed into the MOLAA Permanent Collection at the conclusion of the exhibition.
Manchuria: Peripheral Vision— A Felipe Ehrenberg Retrospective was organized by the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City and curated by Fernando Llanos. The MOLAA presentation is co-curated with Senior Curator Cynthia MacMullin and is funded by the Robert Gumbiner Foundation, Verizon Wireless, Arts Council for Long Beach, City of Long Beach, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Pasadena Art Alliance, La Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores, México, the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles and the MOLAA Annual Exhibition Fund. Media support is provided by ABC7, KCRW (89.9FM), La Opinion, LA Weekly, Los Angeles magazine and Telemundo.
EXHIBITION RELATED EVENTS
Interlogues – Ehrenberg’s Visual Score: A Collaborative Work of Art
THURSDAY, MAY 13, 7:30 - 9:00PM
Richard Wearn and his MFA sculpture students in conversation
A commissioned work funded by the Pasadena Art Alliance, Ehrenberg’s Partitura Visual or visual score is “composed” by the artist based on reoccurring elements and stencil forms. The group, comprised of art students, will collectively interpret and create the final work which will be displayed in the MOLAA Lobby during the exhibition. The artists will discuss the process of participation in this collective initiative.
Artist’s Lecture: – An Evening Conversation with Felipe Ehrenberg
WEDNESDAY, MAY 19, 7:00 – 9:00PM
Mexican Consulate, Los Angeles
En La Noche – Fernando Llanos, VIDEOMANÍA and his band, MI REYNA
THURSDAY, MAY 20, 6:30 – 10:00PM
Mexico’s leading video artist and curator of Manchuria offers an evening of video art, dance and music. Throughout the night, Llanos will entertain the audience with his repertoire of video works, beginning with RPM, the 1998 video that catapulted his career by winning Best Experimental Video in the Venezuela video festival. It will be followed by a selection from the Videoviajes Series / Video Travels Series, his World Wide Web series which debuted at the Guggenheim Museum, New York; a series of deoman’s Adventure videos, as well as a few shorts of cell-phone video works. The evening concludes with the sounds of his band, MI REYNA performing sweet melodies with vocals by Regina Guerrero, Maria Lipkau on cello, Jessica Herreman on keyboard, Fernando Llanos on guitar, accompanied by the linguistic collaborations of Felipe Ehrenberg. Stage designs are by Mexican artist, Hector Falcón.
Robert Gumbiner Sculpture and Event Garden, ticketed event
Master Art Class – Art in Con/Text
SATURDAY, MAY 22
Join Felipe Ehrenberg and Fernando Llanos in designing and producing a small edition of digitally printed artist’s books. Enrollment is limited. Some restrictions apply. For more information, please contact the Education Department at 562.216.4108 .
Members $25 • Non-Members $35
Exhibition Opens – Manchuria: Peripheral Vision—A Felipe Ehrenberg Retrospective
SUNDAY, MAY 23, 11:00 – 5:00PM
Artist & Curator Talk
SUNDAY, MAY 23, 3:30 – 5:00PM
Special Performance: – Xocoylzin the Antepenultimate
U.S. premiere performance; with Felipe Ehrenberg and company; production by Macario Ortega
The United States premiere of Felipe Ehrenberg’s Xocoyotzin the Antepenultimate offers audiences a postmodern revisionist history of the Iberian invasion of Mexico and the murder of Emperor Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin (Moctezuma) by Hernán Cortés. It is narrated in a layering of Nahuatl, Spanish and English. The witness (the artist) and his cast of performers render in multiple “voices” a series of events ensuing from the 500 year-old clash of cultures. Presented in honor of Mexico’s 2010 Bicentennial Celebration, the theatrical production is a phantasmagorical critique of Mexican history, identity and social construction.
MEMBERS: Priority - $30 General - $20 • NON-MEMBERS: General - $30 • Students / Seniors - $15
Special Performance – Strange Democracy: An Evening w/Spoken Word Brujo, Guillermo Gómez-Peña. A new solo performance by California’s seminal Mexican performance artist
FRIDAY, JUNE 4, – 8:00PM
Using acid humor, multilingualism and subversive strategies, the performance is a semi-political analysis of American presidents Bush and Obama and U.S./Mexico border issues. Some of the issues explored include denouncement of the anti-immigration hysteria, Minute Men, three-ply fences, transnational identities, geographical and psychological outposts and new technologies in the post-911 era. During the performance, cultural borders move to the center by placing the audience in the position of “foreigners” in his performance “country.”
Robert Gumbiner Sculpture and Event Garden, ticketed event
Manchuria: Peripheral Vision—A Felipe Ehrenberg Retrospective is organized by the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City and curated by Fernando Llanos. The MOLAA presentation is curated by Cynthia MacMullin and is funded by the Robert Gumbiner Foundation, Verizon Wireless, Arts Council for Long Beach, City of Long Beach, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Pasadena Art Alliance, La Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores, México, El Consulado General de México in Los Angeles and the MOLAA Annual Exhibition Fund. Media support is provided by ABC7, KCRW (89.9 FM), La Opinion, LA Weekly, Los Angeles magazine and Telemundo.