Abraham Cruzvillegas, Thomas Dane Gallery

cruzvillegas-artwork-015-ac-roomAbraham Cruzvillegas autodestrucción4: demolición

In 1988 – maybe – I woke up in a friend’s house. More embarrassingly, I actually woke up in her mother’s bed. The night had been so wild that during the party, I remember that another friend had drunk from a little flask, which contained some strange muddy alcoholic beverage, the flask we realized almost immediately, had kept our friend’s grand-grandfather’s ashes. When Elisa Ramírez, my friend’s mother, showed up in that dizzy morning, she said, while looking at me from top and waking me up: “Why is there a punk sleeping in my bed?”

In fact I wasn’t a punk: I wore baggy clothes as wide as Zoot Suiters, with factory worker’s steel toe boots. And besides sporting an extremely long tuft, I danced to Ska, Cumbias and the local band ‘Three Souls in my Mind’s’ great Chavo de Onda. I spoke like any of Parménides García Saldaña’s characters would speak, and lived in a catholic community of left wing activists, marching and demonstrating for the property of the land, against corruption and authoritarianism. Anyways, in many of my friends’, relatives’ and unknown people’s eyes, I was a punk. So suddenly I started calling myself that, and by doing so, I was in a way, negating – or even destroying – what a Punk really was or should have been, stricto-sensu.

In 1965, a band based in Lima, Perú, called ‘Los Saicos’, released their single Demolición. The song, with its anti-authoritarian stance, rebellious lyrics and Anarchist demands, almost pre- dates and announces what would become Punk as a musical style. Even though Demolición never mentions the word punk itself (and the term would have not necessarily existed at the time anyway) – a possible translation in Spanish would have been Rufián or Vándalo.

We often hear about ‘cultural belatedness’, ‘acculturation’, ‘appropriation’ or ‘consumption’ of trends or movements in art and society, mostly when cultural production follows or even influences fashions and behaviors. But even more striking are these similar – yet radically autonomous – gestures which are, at least formally, executed in advance of any previous or simultaneous nomenclatures and taxonomies. Even though one can observe many evidences of so-called ‘proto-conceptual’ art in South-America, Asia and Africa, the discourse is always dominated by the cultural ‘centers’ of the North/West, where ‘styles’ – just to use an archaic term – are formulated and named.

What does Punk represent for you, even if you have never thought or behaved that way yourself? What could be more Punk than destroying the idea of Punk itself and the accepted behaviors and codes of Punk? How to destroy destruction? Is destroying your own education, prejudices, identity – let’s call it un-learning, or de-learning – something you can stand for as
a pedagogical methodology? Can you share this in a way that means, maybe, you have to contemplate your own destruction as an individual?

In early April 2014, and with some help from a group of my artist friends and colleagues, I will try to activate, question, and open-up our personal and communal perception of Punk. Our ideas will be produced – and therefore destroyed – in a collective, two-part Autodestrucción exhibition at Thomas Dane Gallery.

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