ZsONAMACO 2018: Things Are Not What They Seem

Five artists who revealed a surprising reality at the Mexico City art fair

While not uncommon or infrequent, an art fair at a convention center can be a strange juxtaposition. There is a mimicking of the white cube gallery as though it will make guests feel a bit more at home while they turn a blind eye to the incongruous fluorescent lighting, the metal detectors, the medical conference next door. Still, none of these things matter when in the presence of the overwhelming enthusiasm of both the exhibitors and the attendees, who wander and greet each other like long lost friends—which some of them are—amidst a creative utopia.

It’s within this duality that ZsONAMACO manifests, with all the zeal and all the effort transforming the Centro Citibanamex location into a true celebration of art and design, exacerbated still by the festive spirit of Mexico City. Naturally, art here imitates life, with numerous pieces presenting as one thing from afar only to surprise the viewer upon closer inspection. Highlighted below are some artists presenting our favorite great reveals, discovered while wandering the white cubes of the festival.

Peggy Franck

Presented by London’s ARCADE gallery, Peggy Franck’s work crosses photography with abstract painting, creating a sense that a recognizable object, in this case geodes, has been placed on the artwork as opposed to be being a part of it. The illusion is exacerbated when documented, with photographs of Franck’s art removing any sense of scale. ARCADE travels next to New York City, exhibiting Franck’s work at Stellar Projects opening 9 March, in conjunction with the gallery’s booth at The Armory.

Antonio Santin

From afar, Antonio Santin’s “Incest Coin” appears as an astoundingly intricate Eastern rug hung on the wall, made uncanny by the fact that it seems to antagonize gravity with its folds. Only when approached can one discern that Santin’s pieces are actually oil on canvas, with the paint beaded to simulate the texture of woven textile, made even more realistic by the shadow-play used to create the false rug’s creases. Marc Straus, who represents Santin, will feature the artist in a solo exhibit at the gallery in New York opening 21 February.

Laure Prouvost

Contradicting Santin, Laure Prouvost adapts her usually immersive cinematic installation artwork to ZsONAMACO’s space with this large-scale pixelated image with a caption reminiscent of a coded Instagram message. Eponymous of this caption, “Waiting for you” is actually a blanket-like tapestry, offering an inaccessible comfort analogous to that one receives when sending the aforementioned message out into the public, in hopes that it reaches the one you are actually waiting for.

Maurizio Donzelli

Perhaps it’s cliché that the artist hopes that the audience can see themselves in their work. In Maurizio Donzelli’s case, he takes this literally. Donzelli’s Mirror series deceives, however, as the reflective lenticular surface reveals a hallucinogenic shape and design when passing by each piece. The result naturally draws you toward the artwork, perhaps to check your teeth, only to discover the unexpected layer below—a lesson that can perhaps be taken into the everyday interaction.

Andrea Galvani

Innocuously displayed via MacBook set atop a concrete pillar that dwarfs the screen,Andrea Galvani’s “The End (Action #5)” would perhaps be readily ignored by those unfamiliar with the artist. But the curious eye finds itself accelerating toward a never-ending sunset—or is it sunrise?—yearning to capture the light yet never growing any closer to it. Galvani’s presentation buries the true immensity behind the production of the piece, which required military aircraft flying at supersonic speed against the rotation of the planet.

Maurizio Donzelli and Anton Santin images courtesy of Kevin Blackistone, Andrea Galvani image courtesy of Revolver Galeria, others by Cool Hunting