CULTURA COLECTIVA ENGLISH VERSION
AXR: the artist behind the three characters that shake contemporary art.
AXR is one of the most relevant contemporary artists of the Mexican scene, who began her artistic career painting fractals, as a redoubt to heal personal processes.
During the night, the little pupa began to break the cocoon. The air was freezing and a light drizzle soaked the branches and leaves of the rain forest. The translucent chrysalis broke little by little, with the painful thrust. The other beings around her swore that she would not succeed: she was too small, weak and the process very difficult. It implied leaving the comfort previously enjoyed to become something completely new. Extend its wings and free itself from the silk threads that bound it tightly. It longed to be free, new and full.
I chat with AXR, and what she tells me invites us to think about the painful and liberating process of a butterfly’s metamorphosis: born at the heart of a privileged social environment which tried to constrict her to a pre-established scheme that, simply, was not for her. Arantxa was always much more than that: a restless, challenge-loving girl who got bored and invented new realities through experimentation with her image and that of her toy dolls. Those were gestures which, at their core, involved reinvention and transformation: the exploration of oneself and of being someone else. Being, but not being: a constant process that never ends or runs out, which goes beyond the obvious characterization.
She began her artistic career painting fractals, as a redoubt to heal personal processes. She found in art a means of reflection and, above all, of self-criticism. Continuing with this search process, she started a master's degree in Arts in New York, far from everything and living day to day alterity. There, the plastic gesture of the module and the progression, became performative, influenced by her master’s teachers, as well as by the works of Linda Montano, Cindy Sherman, Adrien Piper and Andrea Fraser. Soon, the meditation and sublimation that took place in the meticulous and obsessive painting of fractals in different surfaces, mutated and led to the creation of a performance, divided into three divergent characters, whose origin is the critique of the human being at a spiritual, ontological and epistemological level.
Now, AXR uses herself as the platform of her conceptual and performatic work, from which she executes a complex problematization of the being, that can branch out in three aspects: the being as an aesthetic agent, the being as a spiritual agent and the being in a specific social environment, that is, the medium of art and the hierarchical social sphere in which it usually
moves as an exclusion device of knowledge. For this, AXR has been designing three characters that have evolved and are now completely distinguishable, although they are linked by the thread of the phenomenological starting point (the moving work of art) that leads to an epistemological meditation (about what is known, intuited or ignored) and which
tries to lead to ontological reflection (who you are and what role plays being there). This trip is the one to which AXR invites her viewers but, first of all, it is the future that she travels throug and has been building for itself: whoever wants to shake and reflect is itself as an individual and as a producer of meanings departing from art.
What would happen if that agent did not possess total knowledge, but was the one who catalyzed it through actions that, after the commotion, led to reflection? And what if that artist or critic was not a man, but a woman who converts her imperfect image into the very problematization of the aesthetic approach, taking it far beyond the object of desire, inspiration or iconographic motif? What if, in addition, that artist, through her own body, challenges the paradigms of a conservative and misogynistic society, assumes its essence through nakedness and invites those who look at it to observe it head on and do the same, accepting itself as individuals with an immanent artistic possibility? What if that same artist questions he art world and the sacralization of the object through discursive elaboration, often empty and lacking emotional connection with the observer? What if that same artist dared to appropriate a deity that represents life, faith and femininity, to continue talking about her role as a creator, as a generator and as a transmitter of knowledge? These are the three characters of AXR. For her, art is said in many ways: The selfie project, Green Tara and Delamer Ituarte. The unfolding and multiplication of the aesthetic possibilities of an approach which, through this trinity, brings into crisis the concept of art as a system of univocal thought that emanates exclusively from the artist as the privileged possessor of knowledge in Western society. These are variations of the same central theme: being in art but, above all, being in the world.
Perhaps the most obvious connection between the face of AXR as a visual artist and her metamorphosis towards performance is Green Tara, where the characterization as a Hindu goddess born of her study of Buddhism leads to the meticulous gestation of a pattern where each action has a spiritual charge and implies an attempt to find the truth of being and, thus, give meaning to existence. This incessant repetition of a module that ends up becoming a symbol is exacerbated in Selfie project, where AXR began reflecting on narcissism and the id, investigating the discursive possibilities of the performative act of stripping (literally and metaphorically). Her body is covered by translucent fabrics and her own tattooed image dozens of times in a selfie.
Thus, she wanders through art fairs and exhibitions, expanding the impact of her image infinitely, like the very Aleph she represents. It became, then, a platform to approach being, not only as a contemporary woman subject to public approval through the image she projects of herself, but as an artist who questions her role as a creator, putting on the tradition of Self-portrait in the history of art. Thus, with that profound problematization, endless as the matrioska in which AXR becomes, it connects with Delamer Ituarte, who evokes a very high-end gallerist, representing a conceptual artist who leaves works of art on his way through the streets of New York and, recently, Mexico City. With this, the artist asserts that art is in anything and that, those works can not be acquired or valued, but have been put there, mimicking industrialization or urban waste for the enjoyment of the few observers who open their eyes, guided by Delamer.
In this simulation of the circuit of art, AXR once again puts on the table the theme of the role of the contemporary artist, the discourse that around her generates criticism and the empowerment of the medium of art controlled by a few agents with practically null objective regulation .
AXR, we could conclude, is an artist who puts in crisis each of the levels that today constitutes the art circuit. It is not, however, a confrontational or destructive act, but a reflexive metamorphosis that, when articulated from a performative triad, opens the doors to which spectators, readers, listeners and strollers, put in tension not only the structure of art in the exercise of power, but to its role as receivers of knowledge and as aesthetic individuals that are part of a system of production and reception of art. That is, to question their role in existence and the world that hosts them.