Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Haciendo agua

Feb 19 - Mar 30, 2022

Max Estrella is pleased to present Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s (Mexico City, 1967) most recent work. Haciendo agua is the fourth solo exhibition of the Mexican-Canadian artist at the gallery. This expression is defined by the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language as “showing weakness or starting to fail”. It serves Lozano-Hemmer to present issues around natural ecology and digital ecology, highlighting in both cases the constant erosion of the concept of “commons”. Who is the owner of water, air, or data?

Four new pieces focus on the fragility of certain aspects of our way of life. Assumed as certain, warning signs of its imminent collapse go unnoticed. GoingOne, a single-channel video presented in a 145 cm-diameter round screen, shows an ant walking on a ball from a popular brand in Canada that inspires its title. It is a metaphor of the contemporary individual who lives immerse in a rat race, and absorbed by routine. He/she loses sense of whether is the ball turning beneath his/her feet, or is he/she perhaps responsible for its movement. Digital alter-ego is one to be blamed for this general incapacity to sense threats. Lozano-Hemmer also reflects on this with Password Breach. The 77-paper-screen installation show a constant flow of passwords extracted from salient historical data breaches filtered in the Panama Papers, Ashley Madison and RockYou2021.
The UN report on water resources estimates that in 2050, 52% of the world’s population will live in regions with hydric stress. According to scientists at the Institute of Global Health, drinking bottled water has a 3,500 times higher cost of resource extraction than tap water. The piece Botella de Castigos is an animation that presents this issue to the spectator. Customized software takes information from a data base of bottled water brands to create new fictional designs and present them as a clock,. The exhibition is completed by Hormonium. This generative animation directs our attention towards our body’s chemistry, specifically the evolution in the production of certain hormones in accordance to human time-cycles (circadian, infradian and ultradian). The work grows with the spectator, showing the hormonal cycles that rule our body, from growth to reproduction.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer lives and works in Montreal. He was the first artist to officially represent Mexico in the Venice Biennale. He has showed his work in Biennials and Triennials in Havana, Istanbul, Kochi, Liverpool, Montreal, and Shanghai, among others. His pieces are in the collections of MoMA New York, Tate in London, CIFO in Miami, Jumex and MUAC in Mexico City, among others. Lozano-Hemmer has presented solo shows in the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, MUAC in Mexico City and the Contemporary Art Museum in Sydney, among others. He is currently exhibiting a show in SFMOMA San Francisco and the Brooklyn Museum in New York.