Schleifmühlgasse 18 - 1040 Vienna 
+43-699-19207778 -

Opening: Saturday, July 2, 2016, 5 pm
Where: NEXT DOOR galerie michaela stock, Schleifmühlgasse 18, 1040 Vienna

Eric del Castillo (MEX), Los Tigres del Norte (MEX), Sifiso Seleme (ZA), Selma Selman (BA), Agata S.Z (MEX)


Murder and manslaughter have inspired artists at all times. This is not different in today's Latin America. Many novels and TV series deal with the bloody doings of Narco, the Drug War raging in Mexico. The novel "La Reina Del Sur - Queen of the South" by Spanish author Arturo Pérez-Reverte has almost become a classic: It follows the paths of beautiful Mexican Teresa Mendoza, rising from poor backgrounds and becoming the most powerful drug dealer. The novel was successfully turned into a telenovela and the music-group Los Tigres del Norte devoted a song to her.

The exhibition La Reina Del Sur has undertaken the task of highlighting this phenomenon, displaying works by artists from different cultural backgrounds. It thus tries to show whether there really is a different manifestation of visible hegemonic masculinities in different cultures and in history. The combination of Mexican, Swiss and South-African artists offers a remarkable starting point for exploring this complex topic and visualizes these processes in the motivic world of the photographic images, paintings, screening and performance.

Mexico's cartel war is reflected in a controversial folk-music genre called narcocorridos, or drug ballads. They're like journalism put to song — telling stories of drug lords, arrests, shootouts, daring operations and betrayals. Los Tigres del Norte have achieved worldwide success, becoming the leading musical storytellers multiple generations of Latin immigrants. The bandleader Jorge Hernández's hat has become legendary. The sombrero can be seen as a national identification symbol illustrating power and solidarity. „A hat tells you who you are and where you are going to" (Jorge Hernández). This legendary Sombrero, which until now has been stored in the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, will be shown in the gallery and will be compared to the video La Reina Del Sur.

Mexican artist Agata S.Z's photographic work refers directly to Narco, dealing with the key concept of defining masculinity. We see pure Machismo, which is associated with violence, power, aggression, and sexual assertiveness. A fact that underpins the radical quality of the works is that the artist prefers to appear in public under an adopted name instead of the civil name.

The Mexican artist Eric del Castillo, based in Croatia, shows the indexation of male body-identity and its representation in cultural discourse on various levels. We see a more objective and less emotional view of the topic in his collage and painting, which do not stress the erotic and the emotional intertwining.

In the second room we see the photographic work of multi-talented artist Sifiso Seleme. Seleme grew up in a multicultural family of Zulu, Tswana, SeSwati and Pedi during and after the apartheid regime in Meadowlands, Soweto, South Africa. His interest in particular is the in-between of different realities of life in Johannesburg and Soweto and its possibilities and impossibilities. The projected images make references, or anti-references, to South Africa's political vocabulary and play with stereotypes of men and women. They construct and deconstruct realities of masculinity; the artist represents the duality of human existence, shaped by the recognition of what life is and the knowledge of inevitable disappearance. A fact that reinforces the exceptional quality characteristic of the work is that there is no distance, no separation, and no neutrality. We just experience purity and uncompromisingness.

press release | LA REINA DEL SUR
press photo 1 | Agata S.Z, Narco, 30 x 40 cm, 2015, 5 + 1 AP
press photo 2 | Sifiso Seleme, Albert Ibokwe Khoza/ Gay Sangoma, 2015, photography, 30 x 40 cm, 3 + 1 AP

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