Saturday, 26 September 2009
Cisco Jimenez's Peddler
For Cisco Jimenez, a native of Cuernavaca where Under the Volcano is set, Lowry's book and his life continue to provide - 70 years after he stayed there - a barometer for measuring the expectations and failures of this Mexican town. For Jimenez the paradox portrayed in the novel repeats: the clash of the popular against the contemporary, tradition under threat from global changes and impositions, and the failure of utopianism (colonial utopias, the social experiments of the 1960s, the neoliberal policies in the 1990s).
Jimenez's mixed media sculptures make playful reference to Lowry's life: his drinking (Two Atoms Connected), golfing prowess (Necklace), and in Peddler the imagery and folkloric aspects of Under the Volcano, whilstAK47 Barroca is indicative of the artist's concern with the contradictions and violence of the everyday in Mexico.
'Cuemavaca is no longer what it used to be. What remains are tourism and opportunistic "cliches" of the quiet and colonial past - multiple thematic hotels and restaurants for wealthy foreigners and visitors from Mexico City, and real estate speculation. Nature has been covered over with tons of concrete, and the last old mansions with their majestic gardens are slowly falling down, giving way to massive condominiums (which we call "condemoniums"). You face such disaster every day'.