“As the name of the section already indicates, the artistic projects in New Proposals are meant to be new discoveries,” Mirjam Vardinis, curator of contemporary art at Kunsthaus Zurich says of her latest endeavor—a section of Zona MACO devoted to emerging artists. Although most of the artists fall under the age of 35, some are older; and for many, it will be their first introduction to a Mexican audience. “You can already be quite well known in one part of the world and still be an emerging artist in another,” she explains.
For New Proposals, Vardinis introduces the artists by way of 20 solo projects, chosen with a preference for locals. “In my curatorial practice, I like giving things roots,” she says. “Since Zona MACO takes place in Mexico City, it was clear to me that I wanted to give special attention to artists who live in Latin America or whose works refer to this region—and to put them in dialogue with artists from abroad.”
Within her selection, the link to the Latin American region is diverse: “Some of the artists in the section are approaching questions of violence and the omnipresent drug war,” Vardinis says, while “others are reflecting on migration and borders and some are continuing the very specific tradition of abstraction in Latin America.”
Asked to comment on the future of the region’s contemporary art scene, Vardinis gives Latin America high marks. “I have to say I’m very impressed with the potential of this scene,” she admits. “The strength of many of the Latin American artists for me lies in the fact that they succeed to combine reflections on socio-political issues with a very poetic formal language. With subtle gestures they trigger existential histories—and this I find very impressive.”