(Born in 1957. Mexico)
Xi mo matlazacan ce cehce, 2006
Soldado (red), 2001
Soldado (azul), 2001
Fernando Palma is an Indigenous Mexican artist, with an engineering background. His works are like strange robotic creatures, moving in several directions through the entrance hall. Each of them is a chimera of electrical, building material and Nahua figures (a cultural group also called Aztecs).
The artist’s background is important here: in the Nahua perspective, humans are not the only ones to have a persona. According to Palma,
A Persona is defined as somebody who you can have a conversation with, the opposite of an inert object that would be out of volition. A table, a chair, a car, or even a phenomenon such as the wind or attributes of a landscape, say a mountain or the sky, are all personas. The virtue of such understanding is borne of a reciprocity of necessity. It is rather like a symbiosis where the ability of communication, whether it is chemical or genetic, is linked through responsibility and therefore it allows for the condition of possible friendship, not only with other human beings, but with the surroundings as such.
In Palma’s view, therefore, these creatures are alive. Electricity is not so much an objective phenomenon as the vital force that allows the work to flow, and hence a person in its own right. The exhibition starts with an unexpected “encounter” with ambiguous individuals, machines for some, living for others. Palma is like a translator or even a diplomat of different “cosmologies,” different ways of articulating the material and the social order.
Courtesy of the Artist and Gaga Fine Arts, Mexico City and Los Angeles