“Pablo Helguera: The Fable Is to Be Retold,”
and the opportunity for Mexican-born Helguera to alter the perspectives of viewers. “Often, Pablo’s work questions the limits of what we consider to be ‘real,’” she says. “It’s great to present Pablo’s first exhibition in Houston, especially [considering] our current political context.”
Culling experiences from his notions of childhood, Helguera is presenting an opening-night performance based on Lewis Carroll’s Mock Turtle character, as well as a “serious critique” on education titled The Fable of the Ancient Children and Other Stories
. The performance by the New York-based artist will literally stump your senses. “This play will be performed in a trapezoidal room, which creates an optical illusion,” Eden says.
But don’t worry, the Ames room stays in place throughout the run of Helguera’s first solo exhibition in Houston, allowing viewers the chance to experience firsthand the technique used in The Lord of the Rings
trilogy to make the hobbits appear smaller. “It’s a pretty small room, ten by 14 feet, and one person on one side of the room will look super tiny, like miniature, and the other person on the other side will look gigantic if you look at them through a camera lens or aperture, so it will create these relationships between children and adults, a short person and a tall person; they can be rearranged,” says Eden.
Also on view are objects and photographs from the artist’s childhood, as well as his mother’s early years, in “Museo de la Vida Escolar”; a series of mysterious and enigmatic collages titled “Arlington Heights,” created from textbooks, learning materials and old schoolbooks; and a spoken-word video. “That video specifically focuses on when children ask about death, and what it means to die, and that’s a difficult question to ask.”
There’s a performance recital, The Fable of the Ancient Children and Other Stories
, at 6 p.m. September 17, followed by an opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Continuing noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, noon to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Through November 19. DiverseWorks, 3400 Main. For information, call 713-223-8346 or visit diverseworks.org
Conceptual artist Pablo Helguera combines performance, visual art, community outreach and political activism to examine the social and cultural function of conventional teaching and memory systems. For his exhibition at DiverseWorks, Helguera uses fables to examine forms of visual and linguistic communication (or miscommunication) and understanding -- particularly between children and adults and the empowered vs. the marginalized. New installation and video work, as well as a conceptual sculpture and a series of collages titled, Arlington Heights, are included in his first solo exhibition in Houston.
About the Artist
Pablo Helguera (b. 1971, Mexico City, Mexico) is a New York-based interdisciplinary artist, author, and educator with an interest in socially engaged art and performance. Helguera's work focuses on a variety of topics ranging from history, pedagogy, sociolinguistics, ethnography, memory, and the absurd, and is presented in unexpected and innovative formats. Helguera has exhibited and performed at the Museo de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; RCA London; 8th Havana Biennial; PERFORMA 05, New York City; MoMA P.S.1; and Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum; and is a recipient of the Guggenheim and Franklin Furnace Fellowships and the Creative Capital and Art Matters grants. He is currently the Director of Adult and Academic Programs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Helguera is represented by Kent Fine Art, New York and Galeria Enrique Guerrero, Mexico City.
DiverseWorks has become a Houston hot spot for showcasing the work of provocative, experimental visual and performance art. Xandra Eden, executive director and chief curator, says she’s excited about the upcoming exhibit,