Lilliput in a Tight Spot

Friday, 07 March 2014 11:15 Written by Sylvia Navarret

October 2008

This collection by Mayra Céspedes invites the viewer into a turbulent initiation experience. “Simulations of a dream” is not so much a journey through an oneiric trance as a log book of the maturing process through which one achieves professional development and personal fulfillment. The author reduces her characters to a miniature scale (an angelical girl, plastic cats and cocktail umbrellas) and subjects them to dangerous urban and domestic settings. With constant suspense and A sense of humor even in distressing situations, she shows us Lilliputians lost in the big city, on the verge of being run over by the traffic, swallowed by a drain or flattened in a metro station. At home, they are not much safer, and could drown in a sink.
The urban traffic is a metaphor for transition; everything moves and nothing is recognizable or feasible. Childhood vanishes in the blink of an eye. People still maintain adolescent tastes and habits, when they should assume adult prerogatives and commitments. The home in Cuernavaca is no longer a shelter and relatives behavior  has become strange. Even intimate spaces have mutated, and the bedroom has become a storeroom for unfinished documentaries and work. Here, Céspedes narrates a teenage crisis in which the symptoms of solitude, angst and alienation evoke a desperate effort to forge a sense of belonging, an individual identity. Céspedes exhibited some fascinating work at past biennials (Yucatán, Monterrey, FEMSA) in which she participated persistently over the course of this decade. They were photographic portraits in the style of Mauricio Garcés, in which a shanty town pin-up sunbathed on her terrace. The rudimentary pinhole technique and the retro and coarse glamour of this advertising pastiche revealed her convincing ability to create images. This ability is still present in "Simulations of a Dream.” What was purely seduction now acquires a moving quality. Indeed, the existential fable atmosphere of this new project, and its tone combining unease and farce give it the emotional power of an explicit self-portrait, without losing its humor o candor.
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