Minerva Cuevas: Disidencia

List of Exhibition Works

1.  Disidencia, 2007-ongoing, Video, 25’43”

For over ten years, Minerva Cuevas has generated a cartography of resistance in Mexico City, documenting demonstrations and less evident signs of autonomous cultural life in the city. Developed from this accumulative archival material, Disidencia is composed of a constant flow of images where the attention given to the subtle, often invisible modes of opposition is emphasized. The images are accompanied by two scores by Mexican composer Pablo Salazar.


2.  Not Impressed by Civilization, 2005, Acrylic paint on wall and video, 13’20”

Made during Cuevas’s visit to Banff, Canada, Not Impressed by Civilization

documents an action based around an interpretation of a quote from a speech by Tatanka Iyotanka (more commonly known as Sitting Bull), the Sioux Indian chief. The artist abandons the urban environment to spent one night in the forest inhabited by wild animals. Packing very basic equipment—a sleeping bag, a flashlight, and a camera, Cuevas meets a deer while looking for a place to sleep.


3.  A Draught of the Blue, 2013, Video, 9’48”

Recorded on the coast of Quintana Roo, Mexico, divers swim in the waters of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. Planned as an underwater demonstration, divers stretch out banners for the camera. One reads Omnia sunt communia (everything is common), pointing out the collective responsibility and dependency of our oceans. Cuevas removes the colors of the marine world, usually vivid, evoking the whitening of coral, a symptom of its death due to warming oceans.


4.  La venganza del elefante (The Revenge of the Elephant), 2007, Installation with a series of 12 slides, Looped

La venganza del elefante appropriates nineteenth-century magic lantern slides in order to create a revisionist fable that subverts the hierarchical perspective of this type of cultural narrative. As in other works by Cuevas, certain elements of imperialist cultural production are reconfigured to stress the symbolic use of animals to reinforce racist segregation and human desire to control and capitalize on other living beings. 


5.  Donald McRonald (France), 2003, Two-channel projection and costume, 16’27”

Donald McRonald documents a staged performance in France in which a character very similar to McDonald’s iconic clown stands in front of the hamburger restaurant and reveals the company’s fraught relations with its employees and customers. After a few minutes, the character enters the store, ironically approaching consumers to discuss the nutritional quality, labor conditions, and modus operandi of one of the largest corporations in the international fast food industry. 


6.  A praia (The Beach), 2007, Intervention documentation / 30 digital slide series, Looped

Sous les pavés, la plage! (Under the pavement, the beach!) became a powerful slogan for the May 1968 student demonstrations. Paris residents ripped the stones up from the streets in order to use them as weapons against state repression. In this work, which was first shown at the Lisbon International Architecture Triennale in 2007, a group of students reorganize paving stones from the streets of Portugal to inscribe A praia (the beach) into the landscape.


7.  El pobre, el rico y el mosquito (The Poor Man, the Rich Man and the Mosquito), 2007, Video, 4’14’’

In El pobre, el rico y el mosquito a young boy reads from a text taken from Tomás Meabe (1879–1915), who was a writer and member of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party. In the story, a wealthy man boasts of having nothing in common with a neighboring poor man, who was on the verge of death from an indiscriminate disease. Suddenly, the rich man is stung by a mosquito, which transmits the very illness that afflicted the poor man. In the end both die simultaneously, still believing they had nothing in common.


8.  No Room to Play, 2019, Video retro-projection on hanging screen, 6’29”

No Room to Play portraits a pre-apocalyptic vision of the relation of childhood and public space. Taking into consideration the history of playgrounds in Germany after the Second World War, Cuevas examines the links between play and urban development in the 20th century. The work resonates with Baruch’s founding in 1847 as the Free Academy, the first free public university in the United States.


All works courtesy of the artist and kurimanzutto.