Fritzia Irízar: Golden Green - Greening Gold
Arredondo \ Arozarena - Mexico City
By Othiana Roffiel
In her solo exhibition at Arredondo \ Arozarena, Mexican artist Fritzia Irízar creates a transnational corporation amidst the gallery. The work, through engaging mischievousness, spotlights something of the ethical controversies that lurk beneath the art market. Under the name “Golden Green - Greening Gold,” this fictitious company classifies gold, allegedly using environmentally-friendly processes. This complex situation oscillates between fiction and reality as Irízar confronts the parallels between the gold and art industries.
A recurring element is the sprinkler. Irízar establishes an elaborate play between function and value to analyze how we adhere worth based on ideals, not utility. A gold-plated sprinkler on a pedestal becomes a relic, reminiscent of a past with luxurious green lawns. The idea prompts a question: what is the nature of societal aspirations? Is art merely another precious metal, another perfectly mowed green lawn? Irízar’s sprinklers forewarn of a cataclysmic future that is no longer in the far distance, but perhaps already here.
The show also comprises a performance. Employees of “Golden Green - Greening Gold” work intensely in white lab coats. The first encounter requires the visitors to hand in any gold possessions they are carrying with them to be documented for archival purposes. In the other two enactments, the employees work silently and intently. One of them is gilding a bird’s skeleton, while in an adjacent station another worker slowly scrapes off a layer of gold from a set of bulky bones.
These situations reflect on the intricate space that exists between cause and effect, creation and destruction; on the way these objects are manufactured and circulated; and on the absurdity of these vicious cycles. Through Irízar’s cunning juxtaposition of art as gold and gold as art, she ponders how our actions shape this convoluted microcosm.
In a text that accompanies the exhibition, Helena Lugo says, “As desperate as an alchemist in search of random and essentially impossible transmutations, humans seem to trust the illusion of gold.” Perhaps we have now learned to trust the illusion of art? We inhabit a bizarre (art) world, where nostalgia permeates the atmosphere, not for the past, but for the present we have lost as “we sit starving amidst our gold.”1 We cannot resist the seductive splendor of it all. Dazzled, we inevitably become complicit actors. Conscious of the absurdity, we succumb to these desires and we make, sell, buy, circulate and write.
As Fritzia Irízar investigates the complexities of the cultural commodities of the contemporary art world, we are left to wonder: Can art still shine through all of that?
(September 23 - November 12, 2016)
1. William Morris, “The Socialist Ideal: Art,” New Review, 1891.
Othiana Roffiel is an artist and writer based in Mexico City. She is a fine arts graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design. Aside from the development of her body of work, she has been instrumental in fostering the international conversation about the state of contemporary art through her publications in diverse international forums such as ARTPULSE and Artishock.
Filed Under: Reviews