Mexican contemporary arts show: impressions of China

Updated: 2015-03-16 04:01

By Zhang Yuchen in Beijing(China Daily Latin America)

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An exhibition of Mexican contemporary art opened on March 12 at the Cervantes Institute in Beijing, part of series of events marking successful cultural exchange projects between China and Mexico.

The Nao Now: In The Center of the Maze, an exhibition at the Spanish cultural center, highlights the works of seven Mexican artists and their impressions of China after a summer stay in Beijing in 2014.

Works show details of their culture as well as of the land they encountered for the first time last year. The artists include Valerie Fields, Ramiro M. Plasencia, Ricardo Pinto, Heriberto Quesnel, Nacho Chincoya, Claudia Gallegos and Emmanuel García Ramírez. Their works share their experiences through artistic expression.

"It's an example of what made our most promising artists, in a very interesting twist. It's a cultural expression by a Mexican but the product of his experience in China," said Julian Ventura, Mexico's ambassador to China, at the opening event.

The Spanish curator of the show, Pablo J. Rico, could not attend—nor could the artists – but he conveyed his thoughts through a video, saying commonness between the two cultures do exist and what they need to do is to step out "the center of the maze" to understand each other.

Rico brought the first contemporary Spanish arts show to Beijing in the 1990s.

"For centuries, since La Nao de la China (The China Ship) or Manila Galleon, the commercial and cultural ship (1565-1815), sailed across the ocean to connect the two lands, we have remained in constant contact with the Far East," said Manuel Valencia, Spain's ambassador to China.

"Nao Now is now the heir, determined to reclaim the values of art and culture in a globalizing world."

In the Center of Maze is the third art event of the Nao Now series, a project driven primarily by Valerie Campos, who was invited by the cultural center of Xu Yuan Beijing. Other Mexican artists were invited to stay in the facilities for a few months last summer to create works in China.

"I invited them because I found it a fantastic idea. It's a way to build links," said Jiang Xingdao, the director of the cultural center, which is open to projects by other international artists and larger undertakings.

The visitors appreciated the show and validated the efforts the artists made. Many knew the classics, but few got contemporary Mexican art.

"The works are very interesting, there are a lot of fantasy and lots of history of each country," said a young woman working for a Chinese gallery.

Others may be inclined to do some comparison. Stella, a Chinese woman in her 50s, whose brother is also an artist, was at the contemporary arts show.

"I visited various foreign cultural organizations to enjoy the beauty of arts brought by foreign artists. Chinese people now have more access to foreign cultures," she said. "I really do not know much about Mexico but they should come over with their very original ideas like these."