Tijuana Organic review

Today we went to see Tijuana Organic, which is a Cornerhouse exhibition of ten female artists’ work. All of the artists are from Tijuana in Mexico.

We arrived at Cornerhouse in the afternoon and had a quick intro to the day’s events before going over to get a sneak preview of the exhibition, normally only open to Cornerhouse staff. We were guided through the exhibition by the curator, Maria Montserrat Sánchez. We started in gallery one where we met Cristena Velasco and Lorena Fuentes Aymes of the Bulbo collective.

The gallery had a busy yet relaxed atmosphere and it was interesting to see a foreign collaborative group. The work in the gallery included short video clips from Bulbo TV in Mexico and there would be an interactive live Internet stream taking place throughout the private view.

Gallery two had a very distinctive piece of work (I know!). It was by Tania Candiani and it included a collection of broomsticks that were sharp at the end and were attached to the wall. They signified domestic violence. By now the general theme of the exhibition was becoming more apparent… a women’s perspective of social issues of violence in Tijuana. A good example of these issues in everyday life in Tijuana was a controversial piece, ‘Let the Street be Heard’. This documentary film gave us an insight into the lives of the youths living on the streets of Tijuana. It was made in collaboration with the artist Itzel Martinez Del Cañizo (sounds like Chorizo) and the youths.

Gallery three (the third gallery!!) was the most eye catching as it consisted of mixed media art works. The work explored the viewpoint of women in various different ways. Yvonne Venegas uses documentary style photography, which portrays social events such as weddings, births and other major occasions from a third person’s perspective.

One of the most eye-catching pieces for Ben (the clown) was ‘The Chain’ by Mely Barragán, which was made up of eleven statues of a groom and a bride. Each statue was the same as the previous one, although the bride began to disappear. I think you get the picture but if you don’t, go and see it. If you do, go and see it anyway!

After the tour we had the unique opportunity of eating free pizza (or salad if you’re Chloe) with two of the artists from Bulbo and members of Cornerhouse staff. We got the chance to ask Cristena and Lorena questions about Bulbo. They talked about the way they see themselves as creative practitioners. They stated, “Bulbo is the artist” showing that their creations are truly collaborative. Cristena and Lorena spoke about how they work and how they don’t see themselves as artists or filmmakers and they strive to grab the attention of a diverse audience.

After speaking to the artists we went to the private view of the exhibition. It was fun and the DJs battled it out over the live Internet stream with DJs in Tijuana to see who really got the crowd moving. We were provided with refreshments, which we enjoyed. It was a remarkable day.

Review by Ben Addlestone and Chloe Daniels

April ’06

Tijuana Organic is showing at Cornerhouse until June 11 2006