Paisajes” (Landscapes) was Ana Segovia’s third solo display at Karen Huber, a gallery concentrated generally on portray. In the first two, the artist honed his craft, landing on a hanging coloration palette and discovering a knack for restricted-cut compositions reminiscent of film stills or fashion images. He also experimented with murals, replicating the emblematic one depicting an beginner bullfighter sneaking into a area, which adorns a wall at La Faena, the bullfight-themed cantina frequented by local artists in Mexico Town. All of these things reappeared in this exhibition, which bundled eight new paintings, some of them diptychs, but was most noteworthy for using functionality to consider the manifold nevertheless confined representations of masculinity in Mexican mainstream media and tradition, which have long preoccupied the artist. In a number of invitation-only and community gatherings, Segovia—with the enable of choreographer Diego Vega Solorza and author and researcher Mariel Vela—put on pretty a exhibit. The space was set up like a phase: A enormous, shiny oil portray of a lakeside vista—aptly titled Paisaje, 2022—was put to the aspect, one of its finishes curving out from the wall as if peeling off, and staggered seating was found at the again. A strikingly spotlighted lady in a blue jumpsuit playing a harp with a screwdriver sat at the finish of the phase over and above the portray. The sounds she created had been equally mechanical and angelical. She was shortly joined by a guy wearing a sort of deconstructed purple mariachi/ranchero outfit, extensive-brimmed hat, short bolero jacket, substantial-waisted pants. He was like a faun, carrying out a fluid dance schedule that attuned the audience to the evening’s strength. Following that, a line of bent knees commenced poking out from a aspect curtain facing the portray. They went up and down, crossing and uncrossing, like the enamel of a knitting machine. Then the men to whom the legs belonged appeared, sporting jumpsuits and dancing robotically, pacing from just one aspect of the phase to the other, crossing just about every other’s paths, and dropping down to do push-ups, only to bounce back up straight away. Ultimately the gentlemen loosened up, strolling extra erratically and touching every other more typically. They stepped to the again of the phase and, accompanied by a pulsating electronic-songs soundtrack and a strobe light-weight, ditched their clothing. From there, the demonstrate devolved into a series of moments—sometimes impressive, as when the guys shaped a kind of moving walkway that one particular of them strode on, but considerably less so when sexuality and energy combined in more explicit and expectable ways—suggesting a diffuse narrative of harmful masculinity and homoerotic motivation. At the really conclude, the crimson faun reappeared to sit atop a mound of adult men.

The display exemplified what I’ve taken to calling a theatrical turn in Mexico City’s art scene: a normal sensation that reveals require to be “activated” and that artwork objects should provide a double operate as props and sets. This concept that a painting is no more time self-adequate comes as a shock, at the very least to me, and it has compelled me to reckon with the fact that—perhaps conservatively—I however have wonderful religion in the art item and in its manifold, strong, intrinsic capability to categorical alone, irrespective of any usefulness as an accessory to a different supposedly much larger and more significant endeavor. In starting to be a history, Segovia’s paintings felt slightly inept, as if they couldn’t pull their body weight. At just one level in the overall performance, the team of sweaty men ran towards the landscape, rubbing on their own on its pink-and-blue area for a couple of seconds ahead of collapsing back into the pleasures of their possess bodies. The painting was left out of all the enjoyment.