Maureen Paley is pleased to present the second solo exhibition by Felipe Baeza at the gallery.
'At the heart of Felipe Baeza’s work is the body: abstracted, dismembered, remembered, obscured, suspended, floating, drowning, sprouting wings, feathers, leaves, both human and celestial, entrapped and expansive, unbound and unruly. In his series of collages Gente del Occidente de México II, for instance, Baeza renders the body grotesque and monstrous. Human limbs, torsos, and mouths are conjoined with photographs of pre-Columbian art objects to create totemic, hybrid entities that straddle multiple temporalities. They are at once more-than-human and anti-human as they scramble logics of self and other, male and female, subject and object. Disjointed, hyper-sexualized human body parts both male and female, replete with stereotypical gender markers (long painted fingernails, garter belts, jewellery, stilettos, sneakers) are attached to the heads and torsos of the pre-Columbian figurines. Baeza culls the images of the pre-Columbian art objects from a 1946 book, Arte Precolombino Del Occidente de México, published by the Mexican Secretary of Education. That Baeza titles his series as he does - substituting the word “Gente” for “Arte Precolombino” in the book’s original title - is significant. By collapsing “Arte Precolombino” into “Gente,” Baeza references the ways in which ancient art objects come to stand in for contemporary people and communities. The indigenous artifact, in other words, serves as a substitute for indigenous bodies and lives.