Jaki Irvine in Dwelling Poetically

ACCA, Melbourne

21 April – 24 June 2018

Jaki Irvine, Se Compra: Sin é, 2014, HD DVD, 17 mins, 37 secs

Dwelling Poetically: Mexico City, a case study is an exhibition which considers the ways artists and cities mutually transform each other. A city, it could be argued, is the sum of its portrayals. The more it is depicted, the more it enters the symbolic and global imaginary, as both what a city is and what it can be. It has been claimed that if Paris was the capital of the 19th century, and New York the capital of the 20th, then Mexico City is the capital of the 21st. One of the great cross-roads of north America, Mexico City has taken prominence not only as one of America’s most populous urban centres, and as Latin America’s strongest economy, but as a node of rich and potent cultural production.


This is in part thanks to a whole generation of artists from the ‘90s which include Francis Alÿs, Abraham Cruzvillegas and Melanie Smith as well as a burgeoning, much-discussed contemporary scene. Authored by the city as much as they are authors of it, these artists are crucial factors in the development and cultivation of Mexico City, as place, myth, metropolis and site of cultural production in the global imaginary. Dwelling Poetically proposes a portrait of the Mexican capital through a selection of artists that live there, have lived there, or have only passed through, and yet have nevertheless contributed to its composition. As such, the exhibition is intended as a portrait of the city itself – albeit partial and subjective – and a case study of, if not the capital, then certainly one of the capitals of the 21st century, and a reflection upon the megalopolis today.


This exhibition has been developed by guest curator Chris Sharp, assisted by Fabiola Talavera.

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