Oct 14th 2018

MAKE Literary Production’s 5th annual Lit & Luz Festival of Language, Literature, and Art, themed “Assembly,” is an ambitious exchange between Mexico City and Chicago. The week-long festival takes place at over a dozen arts venues and universities throughout Chicago, October 13th-20th. The following March, a similar series of events are held in Mexico City. Programs include readings, conversations, and our signature event, the “Live Magazine Show”—which makes its Museum of Contemporary Art debut this year. #litluz / www.litluz.org

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“In this way, the exhibition is understood not only as the display of objects, but as a meeting point that can generate urgent reflections for the world we inhabit.”

Join So close, far away curators Mia Lopez and Esteban King as they discuss the process of forming this exhibit of work from Chicago and Mexico City from their respective cities.

More on the exhibition:

So close, far away presents work by a group of emerging and mid-career artists from Mexico and Chicago who explore the parallels and intersections between art, communication and writing. Organized within the framework of the Lit and Luz Festival, the exhibition brings together the multitude of ways in which poetry, art, and literature manifest in artistic practices.

The exhibition title refers to Chicago and Mexico’s shared history of migration and cultural exchange, and also poses a question about the relationships between writing and art. How close or how far are these two distinct mediums?

Apart from developing videos, performances, paintings or photographs, many of the artists of this show also write. These writings can be legible or illegible, conventional or encrypted, traditional or invented. So close, far away examines the meeting of artist and writer, and the polemic of text vs. image, intentionally obscuring boundaries between disciplines.

Some of the works in this show create an interplay between both the visual and literary realms. In others, images functions as texts and texts functions as images; and, even further, some of them question the fundamental idea that image and texts are separated worlds…

Rather than perpetuate tropes or trends, or attempt to arrive at a definitive resolution, we seek to provide a platform for both the consideration and the formation of new strategies and approaches. How can these visual and literary ways of communication operate? Are they always separated one from another? Where is the limit or the point of encounter between them? The artists in this exhibition address these inquiries, as well as point to further areas for interrogation.

With this dialogue, So close, far away seeks to account for the similarities and differences between the concerns and methods of working by artists in Mexico and Chicago. In an era marked by the rise of nationalism and cultural intolerance, establishing links between the work of emerging artists who have focused on contemporary artistic creation feels crucial. Echoing the student demonstrations that occurred in different parts of the world exactly 50 years ago, we are convinced that poetry and imagination are the first step to break with the established order and begin to conceive of a different kind of world.

– Mia Lopez and Esteban King, curators

Mia Lopez is Assistant Curator at DePaul Art Museum in Chicago. She was previously Curatorial Fellow for Visual Arts at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Mia has master’s degrees in art history and arts administration from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in art history from Rice University. She is an alum of the Smithsonian Latino Museum Studies Program and the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture Leadership Institute.

Esteban King Álvarez (Mexico City, 1986) holds a BA in History and a MA in Art History from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Curator of the collective exhibitions Transcripciones (Museo Universitario del Chopo, 2014), Fonema (Ex Teresa Arte Actual, 2015), Una red de líneas que se intersecan (ESPAC, 2016) and La nueva onda del silencio (El cuarto de máquinas, 2017), among others. From 2012 to 2015 he was curator and chief researcher at the Museo Universitario del Chopo. Since 2015 he works as curator at ESPAC, Espacio de Arte Contemporáneo, in Mexico City, and works as independent writer and researcher.

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