Pequod Co. is proud to announce a new exhibition by Paloma Contreras Lomas titled Sombras Nada Más (Espíritu TV) that will open to the public on Saturday, November 11th.The exhibition will be on until Saturday, January 20th, 2024.
Sombras nada más (Espíritu TV) is a multimedia installation that comprises softie-cyborg sculptures, a set of large-scale paintings, drawings and videos.
The show focuses on two fictions that derive from reenactments narrated by the landscape about historical events of which there are no official records. Based on an autobiographical and emotional investigation about her own family, The Fog and The Mountain (the artist’s father and uncle) narrate testimonies lived during her childhood and adolescence in Acapulco during the Dirty War in Mexico.
Beyond a documentary or family story, Contreras Lomas aims to play with the representation of the subsoil, bodies and the idea of the forensic archive of the Mexican landscape. In a country where opacity reigns and multiple truths circulate, Contreras Lomas aims to create fictions of representation and historical recreation mapped by an omnipresent narrator, who, at the end of the night, is the only one we can trust.
This exhibition is dedicated to someone else’s ghosts, to those of my father.
Francisco is the brother who follows my father. He has an impressive range of facial expression, in the family he is the one who told the jokes or impersonated famous actors. The last trip we made to Guerrero, he came with us and I was looking at what to do with my ideas and obsessions around the landscape. I have been working for years with the Landscape-witness, the Landscape-forensic archive, the Landscape that sees. I think that the landscape in Mexico, since the revolution, has been aligned with the State or the resistance that inhabits it. I want to trace that landscape genealogy in my own way. The government has designated it as the place where evil and illegality live. It kills what inhabits it and exploits it, even if it was its ally in the past. Then we see Kate del Castillo narrate in a white forum when she went to see El Chapo. She tells how they were going up the mountain, smuggled. Netflix version. I have to confess that I am closer to that version than to any type of pretentious and artistic activism. Several chapters of that series also inspired me to make these pieces, particularly the video. But without being bewitched by Sean Penn, thank God.
When I made that first trip to think about what I wanted to film, the only thing I knew was that I wanted to enter Durazo’s palace. Before they turn it into a restaurant and it stops being a semi-low, but not so secret, tourist attraction. Last month we tried to enter, it was already more similar to a hotel-cafeteria than to the dungeons of the seventies corruption of the police.
Seeing Francisco drink his sugary coffee on a morning of artistic confusion clarified the exhibition for me. He was going to be the body where different ghosts would live, different specters linked to the landscape. I always wanted to be able to do a cool recreation, I was very excited. I was thinking, according to me, of making a kind of “The Act of Killing” in a lowered and paternal version. I told Francisco about my proposal and then my dad joined the discussion and the three of us were already excited about a script that did not yet exist.
As I thought about the scenes, family anecdotes abounded between meals, breakfasts and walks. My dad and his brothers grew up in Acapulco during the Dirty War and I took his childhood stories as a kind of narrative structure that haunts Francisco possessed by ghosts. Meanwhile, my dad served as the leader of the so-called “Senior Staff” that handled lighting, production and exploration. The red-lit scene of Francisco in the jungle is courtesy of the headlights of my dad’s truck and more moments that became family classics that are told over dinner and dominoes.
I told neither of them that I was going to talk about Joaquín. They still don’t know and I hope they forgive me. I know that they miss him a lot but we have to invoke the ghosts once and for all, so that they can go to rest in peace. I almost don’t remember him and maybe that’s why I talk about him like that. But I appreciate that you allowed yourself to be found, Joaquín, so that it seems to my dad that the only thing that scares him are ghost stories.
I think what I like most about being an artist is telling stories. This exhibition is one of those times.
Paloma Contreras Lomas