Museo Jumex puts spotlight on Sofía Táboas

Museo Jumex (Mexico City) presents the work of Sofía Táboas through two complementary exhibitions— Colección Jumex: Temperatura ambiente (The Jumex Collection: Ambient Temperature), an installation of works from the Jumex Collection, curated by Táboas, and Sofía Táboas: Gama térmica(Sofía Táboas: Thermal range), a solo show of the artist’s work curated by Chief Curator Kit Hammonds. On view from October 7, 2021, through February 13, 2022, the concurrent exhibitions create a dialogue within the Museum and explore the relationships between human and natural forces through the work of an individual artist and her perspective on the work of her international contemporaries, including Francis Alÿs, Tacita Dean, Olafur Eliasson, Gabriel Kuri, and Alicja Kwade.

“In her work, Sofía creates habitats, environments, and spaces that allow us to more deeply explore various forms of life as a means of altering and expanding perception,” Hammonds said. “The influence of the Arte Povera, minimalism, and Neo-concrete movements on her practice is evident in her use of common materials, while her work aims to bridge the gap between our idea of what is internal and external in our world.”

Among a generation of artists who have come to define Mexican contemporary art of the 21st century, Sofía Táboas investigates both natural and man-made space, and how it is built and transformed, thought about, and perceived. These ideas are explored in her sculptures and installations, which utilize materials such as artificial and live plants, mosaics, pool equipment, construction materials, plastic, light bulbs, and fire. Her works create thresholds and boundaries between elements that may be incongruent or seemingly irreconcilable, serving to reinvent the borders of the public and the private, the inside and the outside. Táboas is recognized for deftly manipulating space to create interactive structures and contexts where materials can be interpreted in new terms.

Colección Jumex: Temperatura Ambiente (The JumexCollection: AmbientTemperature)

For The Jumex Collection: Ambient Temperature, Táboas has selected 35 works from the Jumex Collection to create a journey from the suffocating heat of the desert to the air-conditioned, impersonal spaces of contemporary life. Filling the third floor of the museum with videos, photography, and sculptures by renowned international artists including Francis Alÿs, Tacita Dean, Mark Dion, Olafur Eliasson, Gabriel Kuri, Alicja Kwade, Ann Veronica Janssens, and Salla Tykkä, Ambient Temperature considers heat poetically – how it travels through the body, affecting experiences and emotions, against the backdrop of global climate change. Differences in temperatures represented by the works generate transitional spaces, intermediate states, and moments of discrepancy.

Works on view include Francis Alÿs’s video installation Tornado (2002), which depicts the artist hunting and then entering into the eyes of tornados in the Mexican deserts, creating a commentary on how we shift and adapt to the chaos of everyday life.

Mark Dion’s diorama L’Ichthyosaure (2003) depicts a beached prehistoric sea creature with paleontological apparatus spilling from its stomach, speaking to how the natural world is classified and studied as a cultural object from petrified remains.

Alicja Kwade’s installation Geganwartsdauer (2013), made from a petrified tree decomposing into sand, also considers how nature is preserved against entropic forces.

Gabriel Kuri’s Untitled (Fridge) (2003) furthers this line in cultural terms, containing garments chilled by a working glass-doored refrigerator.

An early photograph by Andreas Gursky, Gasherd (1980), pictures the industrial household appliance that channels natural fuel for heat.

Sofía Táboas: Gama Térmica (Sofía Táboas: Thermal Range)

Sofía Táboas: Thermal Range focuses on similar themes in the artist’s practice with a new group of sculptures and paintings by the artist that examine themes of habitable space, the transformation of materials, and the temperature of color. These are accompanied by some of the artist’s past installations, including Filtro Lama (2011), that will be adapted for Museo Jumex’s second-floor galleries.

In FiltroLama the artist modifies the windows of the museum with glass tanks that contain water from the canals south of Mexico City. Sunlight entering the gallery is filtered by the greenish water, revealing microorganisms and algae that will grow during the course of the exhibition. 

Untitled (Silver Wall) (2000) from the Jumex Collection is a mural made with a cooling aluminum paint commonly applied to the roofs of buildings to insulate them from the sun’s heat. Inside the museum, the mural’s metal surface modifies the space, reflecting light and emphasizing imperfections in the wall’s surfaces.

Another mural, Thermochromic Wall (2021), is made with paint that changes according to heat. The artist will use this paint to create a drawing in situ.

Other works in the exhibition include Guardafuegos (2021), hybrid figures and ovens made of clay; Umbral templado (2021), representing a fragment of a swimming pool’s architecture; and Invernadero (2021), a unique cold-frame for growing orchids.

Sofía Táboas

Sofía Táboas (Mexican, b. 1968) is an artist based in Mexico City whose work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Mexico and internationally, including site-specific specific pieces and public art installations. Táboas has been an influential figure for her own and subsequent generations.

One of the founding members of the Mexico City artist space Temístocles 44 in the 1990s, she is an instructor at La Esmeralda and SOMA and remains committed as an artist to the continued development of art in Mexico. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from UNAM, Mexico City (1986-1990).

Museo Jumex

Museo Jumex, Fundación Jumex Arte Contemporáneo’s main platform, opened its doors to the public in November 2013 as an institution devoted to contemporary art. Its aim is not only to serve a broad and diverse public, but also to be a laboratory for experimentation and innovation in the arts.

Through its exhibitions, publications, re­search, and public programs, Museo Jumex familiarizes audiences with the concepts and contexts that inform current art practice. Through the use of critical and peda­gogical tools, the museum’s educational programs further the institution’s commit­ment to build links between contemporary art and the public.

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