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The Stubbornness of Things in Francisco Montoya Cázarez’s Work

By Friederike Fast
Translated by Adela Yawitz

"Francisco Montoya Cázarez’s work is instigated by a sense of marvel at the seemingly simple, only to continue to piercingly investigate his subjects, literally rotating them from left to right in order to give them ever-new forms. Taking what is accepted and familiar and turning it upside down, in an attempt to inquire into the essence and identity of objects and phenomena, is also a key principle of philosophy. Just as in philosophy it is often the simplest, primary questions that bring truth to light, in art it can be the simplest gestures that make things appear in a new light, and allow the viewer to enter into a new relation to the world...

Everyday objects have always played a major role in art. The painters of the golden age were particularly adept at elaborately reproducing the material qualities of everyday objects in their images. In modernity, real objects also find their way into art and function as a kind of hinge between art and life – beginning with the cubists, through surrealists and up to Marcel Duchamp’s ready-mades. While the 1960’s saw a shift away from the aesthetics of the artwork and object and towards an event or process-based aesthetic1 that focused on action, today’s art is arguably returning its attention to the object and its ‘thingness’2. One could “also conceive of the transformation of common things into artworks […] as the first actualization of the object’s objecthood, in which its undisguised worth is brought out.”1 Francisco Montoya Cázarez brings the object and action together, through the transformation his objects undergo. For instance, his pieces “Opfer” (2016) or “Small Change” (2016) were both made by melting various materials. The contrast between material and spiritual becomes specifically pointed as Cázarez handles votive candles in the same way as money, even though the first represents a spiritual connection to the godly realm while the second is a profane tool for interpersonal exchange. Whether you are inclined to evaluate objects according to their usefulness or their aesthetic appearance, they nonetheless also hold emotional, spiritual, and symbolic values."

Twelve Statements on Philosophy, Art, Society, and Reality
For Francisco Montoya Cázarez

By Marcus Steinweg
Translated by George Frederick Takis

1. There are passions which derive their plausibility
from their unfathomability. Not because they are arbitrary,
but because they intervene in reality with an
impact which compels them to redefine it. Philosophy
is linked to art by an openness to indications which
obscure the established model of reality in order to
view it in a new light.

2. An aspect doubtlessly shared by art and philosophy
is their opening onto the dimension of exteriority
which Lacan addresses as the real. It is also
possible—along with Nietzsche, with Deleuze and
Guattari—to speak of chaos. In any case, it is a matter
of the experiencing of a resistance which cannot
be internalized and which conducts the subject up to
its limitations.

3. The experience of the border implies the risk of
a certain self-transcendence by the subject. If there
exists something like a subject—a subject after
the death of the subject—then it is a matter of the
subject of an originary self-transcendence, hence of a
subject which, in place of being in possession of itself,
instead knows itself to be dominated by powers
which traverse and codify all the domains of its

4. The subject identifies itself as a subject of exteriority
in the sense of the double genitive, which proves
to be sovereign in its orientation toward the external,
inasmuch as it indicates itself to be possessed by externality. The external
can be the name of the incommensurable, of the ontological inconsistency
of its world, of emptiness, or of the indifference of the real, which unde

5. The world—if we do not consider it to be a world of facts, a homogeneous
sphere of objective consistencies—resembles a “sketch without
design,” in the apt formulation of Jean-Luc Nancy: “plummeted out of the
black emanation of a sudden surge of energy, elementary wave, flare of
photons within the density of a sunken, self-enfolded void, obscure and
sounding cistern: pure ecstasy, sonorous and vast expansion, rupture of the
quark, pulsing metrical scansion, sketch without design, omnidirectional
projection, formation of shimmering eruptions, centrifugal motion.”1
without design and pure ecstasy; lacerated, endless texture composed out
of a myriad of blind and mute ciphers.

6. This is the site where we are located. It is here that every subject
breathes, lives and dies—in this ocean of inhuman material. The fact that
God is dead means that nothing other is left to the subject than to make
itself at home in this acosmic disaster, to confront therein the truth of its
consistencies and of itself.

7. Western thought lives from the illusion of the identity and self-equivalence
of the human subject. It is constantly concerned with the question
“Who am I?” This question is always answered by promising the self a
dwelling, a transcendental intimacy and self-familiarity. Nonetheless, it is
clear that this act of volition and this yearning and the ethic which requires
this sort of self-stabilization in the entity of an ego or a self are due to the
ontological catastrophe—to the intuition, the knowledge that there exists
no subject identical with itself.

Old New Territories
Minja Gu: Atlantic-Pacific co.
Lotte Van den Audenaeren: Potentialis
Francisco Montoya Cázarez & Su Yu-Hsien: Body & Soul

By Barbara Adams

This description from the New York Times presents the Moore Street
Market as a quaint and exotic locale, seemingly contained by culture and
architecture. A common trope in the discourse that links the cultural to
the built environment, this type of narrative risks sidestepping the lived
experiences of actual people. The artists involved in the International
Studio & Curatorial Program’s (ISCP) Participatory Projects at Moore
Street Market, considered the ways in which site-based work, that
engages communities, can both accommodate and problematize this
nexus of place and culture. As they engage the social, these artists
contend with the ways in which art in the public realm is simultaneously
expedient in objectifying and in empowering local neighborhoods.
Through their collaborations, these artists, along with local participants
negotiate the difficult task of creating work that expresses social,
historical and spatial specificity while avoiding essentializing and
exoticizing clichés. Moore Street Market occupies an antipodal character
where on the one hand, it is seen as a locale central and vital to the
community; while on the other it is understood as a forlorn, anachronistic
place in a state of deterioration and decay. These competing discourses
constitute an ongoing construction to which the artists contribute via their
dialogue with participants and place.

In the wake of plans to demolish the market to make room for housing
in 2008, public agencies argued that the markets have been historically
unsuccessful, attractive only to “the kind of population that is in
Reading this comment in the context of our lives today, one
might argue that the markets are then, widely relevant, as the majority
of us live in states of transition. Moore Street Market has passed from
Jewish and Italian vendors to merchants from Puerto Rico, the Dominican
Republic, Mexico and Ecuador. Now, the market has forged alliances
with a number of other organizations, collaborations that express how
the mobilities of people, culture, and capital extend beyond that of
national origin. It is perhaps too obvious to note that the ways in which
we move today are as evident in the art world as they are at La Marqueta.
Artists increasingly move from place to place for residencies, art fairs,
international exhibitions, and for work and education. Artists today
respond to and embody a new globalized perception as they reconcile
their need for a connection with site and environment with the forces of
uprooting. This negotiation entails “setting one’s roots in motion, staging
them in heterogeneous contexts and formats, denying them the power to
completely define one’s identity, translating ideas, transcoding images,
transplanting behaviors, exchanging rather than imposing.”5

Body and Soul amplifies these qualities and processes by providing a
performative platform. The vendors are understood as agents interpreting
and enacting their experiences. As actors in the project, they actively
participate in the aesthetic construction of the work and in illuminating
the socio-spatial dynamics of the market.

Zu den Aquarellen und Tuschezeichnungen
von Francisco Montoya Cázarez
By Katrin Meder

Die Arbeiten Montoyas offenbaren die Perspektive eines Künstlers, der Abstand
gewonnen hat zu seinem Heimatland. Er blickt auf sein Land aus der exklusiven
Warte einer Nation, die in einer Skala der sichersten Nationen der Welt auf Platz
14 steht. Vor dem Erfahrungshintergrund, dass die Europäer trotz ihrer Weitgereistheit
mit Klischees aufwarten, wenn es um die Vorstellung der kulturellen
Identität von Mexiko geht, instrumentalisiert Montoya die kulturellen Stereotypen
als Vehikel für eine erschreckende Realität. Mit drastischen Bildern provoziert
er andererseits unseren Voyeurismus und entlarvt zutiefst menschliche Mechanismen.
So verarbeitet Montoya mit eigenwilliger Strategie das Trauma seines