In 1988 - maybe - I woke up in a friend's house. More embarrassingly, I actually woke up in her mother's bed. The night had been so wild that during the party, I remember that another friend had drunk from a little flask, which contained some strange muddy alcoholic beverage, the flask we realized almost immediately, had kept our friend's grand-grandfather's ashes. When Elisa Ramírez, my friend's mother, showed up in that dizzy morning, she said, while looking at me from top and waking me up: "Why is there a punk sleeping in my bed?"
In fact I wasn't a punk: I wore baggy clothes as wide as Zoot Suiters, with factory worker's steel toe boots. And besides sporting an extremely long tuft, I danced to Ska, Cumbias and the local band 'Three Souls in my Mind's' great Chavo de Onda. I spoke like any of Parménides García Saldaña's characters would speak, and lived in a catholic community of left wing activists, marching and demonstrating for the property of the land, against corruption and authoritarianism. Anyways, in many of my friends', relatives' and unknown people's eyes, I was a punk. So suddenly I started calling myself that, and by doing so, I was in a way, negating - or even destroying - what a Punk really was or should have been, stricto-sensu.
In 1965, a band based in Lima, Perú, called 'Los Saicos', released their single Demolición. The song, with its anti-authoritarian stance, rebellious lyrics and Anarchist demands, almost pre- dates and announces what would become Punk as a musical style. Even though Demolición never mentions the word punk itself (and the term would have not necessarily existed at the time anyway) - a possible translation in Spanish would have been Rufián or Vándalo.
We often hear about 'cultural belatedness', 'acculturation', 'appropriation' or 'consumption' of trends or movements in art and society, mostly when cultural production follows or even influences fashions and behaviors. But even more striking are these similar - yet radically autonomous - gestures which are, at least formally, executed in advance of any previous or simultaneous nomenclatures and taxonomies. Even though one can observe many evidences of so-called 'proto-conceptual' art in South-America, Asia and Africa, the discourse is always dominated by the cultural 'centers' of the North/West, where 'styles' - just to use an archaic term - are formulated and named.
What does Punk represent for you, even if you have never thought or behaved that way yourself? What could be more Punk than destroying the idea of Punk itself and the accepted behaviors and codes of Punk? How to destroy destruction? Is destroying your own education, prejudices, identity - let's call it un-learning, or de-learning - something you can stand for as
a pedagogical methodology? Can you share this in a way that means, maybe, you have to contemplate your own destruction as an individual?
In early April 2014, and with some help from a group of my artist friends and colleagues, I will try to activate, question, and open-up our personal and communal perception of Punk. Our ideas will be produced - and therefore destroyed - in a collective, two-part Autodestrucción exhibition at Thomas Dane Gallery.
Abraham Cruzvillegas, February 2014
Born 1968, Abraham Cruzvillegas lives and works in Mexico City and Paris. Recent solo exhibitions include: Abraham Cruzvillegas: The Autoconstrucción Suites, Haus der Kunst, Munich, 2014; Abraham Cruzvillegas: The Autoconstrucción Suites, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis,2013; Autodestrucción 2, Museo Experimental el Eco, Mexico City, 2013; Autodestrucción 3: Avant et après le voyage de AA a la terre rouge, Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris, 2013; Abraham Cruzvillegas, Kurimanzutto, Mexico City, 2012; Abraham Cruzvillegas: Autodestrucción 1, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, 2012; and Autoconstrucción: Antonio Castro, Abraham Cruzvillegas & Antonio Fernández Ros, Tate Modern, London, 2012.
Abraham Cruzvillegas will be in conversation with Jochen Volz at the ICA, London, 28 March, 1pm.
An opening reception will take place on 1 April from 6-8pm at 3 & 11 Duke Street, St. James's.
For exhibitions and sales enquiries please contact François Chantala - Francois@thomasdane.com. For press inquiries please contact - Elli@thomasdane.com.
Exhibition dates: 2 April - 24 May, 2014.
Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 12pm-6pm. Admission Free.
Tel: +44 (0) 20 79252505. Nearest Tube: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus.