Offering a counter point to the big budget proceedings at Zona Maco across town, Material Art Fair has once again returned to the spacious halls of the Expo Reforma once again (the first time in the same location as a previous edition), opening its doors this Thursday to strong attendance and interest from collectors and attendees.
Embracing its creative, multi-floor plan, Material has made the most of the Expo Reforma space, putting on a distinctly walkable event that provided larger booths with ample space for ambitious pieces and multi-artist selections, a choice that only strengthened the show’s appeal, while still providing enough resources for first-time exhibitors and younger galleries.
The fair’s notably more adventurous curatorial focus around smaller galleries and inventive projects presented an often engaging circuit around its grounds, presenting the viewer with a number of vividly arranged booths and intriguing projects. At Andréhn-Schiptjeko, one could view a series of subtle figurative compositions by painter Ridley Howard, while German gallery Dittrich & Schlechtreim had compiled a series of surreal, lava lamp-like structures by artist Julian Charrière, strange, swirling works that saw material twisting and snaking around its transparent cylinders. At gallery Nicelle Beauchene, one could view a selection of pieces by Daniel Rio Rodriguez and Eleanor Ray, a series of nature-tinged compositions, that pointed to a distinctly nostalgic experience of the world in an increasingly digital world.
Unique forms and pieces were also on view throughout the fair site. At Et. Al, one could view a series of works by Ben Peterson, strange, foreign shapes in three-dimensional space that underscore the artist’s interest in subtly mysterious forms. Elsewhere, at Marc LeBlanc, JPW3 was showig a series of complexly layered checkerboard pieces, creating a colorful, surreal visual effect as the viewer passed by. Other evocative, intriguing forms were on view at Janet40, a digitally-focused gallery presenting and assisting in the production of works. The pieces by El Pelele were particularly noteworthy, large-scale pieces of glass and MDF adored with strange, gothic imagery and otherworldly undertones.
Presenting a unique counterpoint to Zona Maco, the programming at Material offers a fair framework that seemed to prioritize a more personal relation to its surroundings, not only in terms of the more familial atmosphere of the show, but equally with its awareness and engagement with the world around the fair itself. Prioritizing a more engaged, focused approach to the exhibition, Material offers a strong alternative vision for the art world in Mexico City, and perhaps for the international scene more broadly.
The fair is open through Sunday, February 10th.
— D. Creahan
Material Art Fair [Exhibition Site]