Outside the Lines

13.05.14 – 10.06.14

Carlos Aguirre

As part of its Art Basel week and Hong Kong Art Gallery Night programme, Puerta Roja is proud to present “Outside the Lines”, the first exhibition in Asia by Carlos Aguirre, one of the most regarded precursors of conceptual art in Mexico.

Since the 1970s, installation art and experimentation with different materials have been a constant priority. He devoted many years to the artistic reinterpretation of everyday language, exploring and evidencing its ambiguities. He has amassed an enormous collection of printed material, which he feeds into beautifully conceived objects and installations that showcase his early formation as a designer.

Aguirre experiments continuously with different techniques: photography, digital manipulation and traditional media. Through the use of technology, he objectivises deeper meanings. The juxtaposition of press texts, especially in the discourse of different social, political and religious groups, turns him into a social activist more than an artist.

More recently, the artist is working with complex installations which include digital resolutions and experimentation with lighting; a vast series in process titled “Islands” that coincides with his core project: language. During his daily walks, he looks for unexpected forms and lines created by inadvertent public spaces. He photographs cracks in walls, branches of urban trees, spaces between buildings. He then turns them into digital prints of invented geographic islands and oceans. Names of cities and towns, phrases, euphemisms and slang from his text collection appear. The words, primarily from national newspapers and the New York Times are meticulously recorded in notebooks that the artist treasures. Aguirre brings together text and lines, order and chaos into an innovative idea of design and art.

Aguirre has represented Mexico in various Biennales including Paris, Sao Paulo and Havana. He has held the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship since 1994 and is currently a member of the National System of Creators of the Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (FONCA, Mexico). He has worked extensively in solo projects for some of the most prestigious contemporary art museums in Mexico, including MAM (Museum of Modern Art), MUAC (Contemporary Art National University Museum), Carrillo Gil Contemporary Art Museum, Siqueiros Public Exhibition Hall and the Museo del Chopo, as well as the National School of Fine Arts.