Wednesday night, Graffictti, a group show by Mexican artists Said Dokins, Mazatl, Fusca, Ácaro opened in London. A short exhibition, the show runs through Sunday at the newly opened Hoxton Gallery at 47 Old Street.
Just three months old, the gallery is a large space in a converted grocery store, set in the heavily trafficked Old Street footpath between Whitecross Street and the Old Street tube station. Well lit by day with large windows providing ample light, the gallery invites visitors to a voyage of discovery. Although the ethos of a pop-up exhibition is to be a rough around the edges and “underground” vibe, it was admittedly hard work to find a gallery staff member to provide information.
Despite the gallery experience, this is a must see exhibition. They works are a delight, living up to Hoxton Gallery’s promise to:
“…act as a point of artistic exchange between Mexican artists and the London street art community, showcasing emerging talents…(that) reflect the changing landscape of contemporary Mexico and its deep relation with traditional techniques”
The beauty of Said Dokins’ calligraphy on walls in London is matched by the works in the gallery.
Photographs of works of writing performed with long exposure photography and the tracing of light through space is beyond compare.
Without an explanation of the work, one might presume that the work has been photoshopped rather than produced by photography and meditative focus. In essence, Dokins has managed to leave a trail of perfectly formed letters with light, despite the letters being seen only in his mind’s eye.
Precision of line and detail is reflected in the prints of master carver and painter, Mazatl. His works remind one of the long tradition of graphic art seen in woodcuts dating back to early medieval times.
Beautifully rendered images of death, birth and political repression are conveyed via the natural world and connect with the viewer in a visceral way. A truly gifted artist and craftsman, his images are immediate and engaging. One is entranced by both the detail of line and the overall realism generated.
Juxtaposed against the precise detail of Mazatl, is the delicate terra cotta blush on the three faces of the woman from whose heart emerges a powerful horse. Her illuminated, sun kissed skin offers both warmth and a complex set of imagery that seems at once both familiar and foreign.
Like Frida Kahlo, Fusca mixes what has been termed surrealism with symbols from indigenous and folk art. Fusca’s work evokes the art of the Pueblo people both in the choice of colour palette and in imagery.
The above street piece of the masked figure who has tamed Mazatl’s wild boar is reminiscent of masked Hopi snake dancers, and the horse emerging from the heart reminds the viewer of the central role of the horse in indigenous culture of Northern Mexico and of the role that the Pueblo people played in the development of the horse trade in Northern Mexico and what has become the American Southwest.
Beautiful, captivating and dream like, Fusca’s art takes one on a journey of myth and legend both historical and beyond time.
With political imagery and detailed line reminiscent of Mazatl and a surrealist treatment that gives primacy to the natural world, Ácaro completes the show by evidencing a wide artistic range in the works exhibited.
Art prices range from accessible to that suitable for a more serious amateur collector. The group show closes Sunday and while one should be prepared to really work for an inquiry with gallery staff, the show is one not to miss.