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: University of Essex A R ENA MEXICO | A week of events to celebrate the magic of Mexican wrestling EASA Presented in association with VisitingArts | origina ty Corona, londonprintstudio Extra | University gallery (eo eS Uk Flim Sereening: £1 Enmascaraco de Plata conta la Invasion de los Marcianos/ Siver Mask vs. the Martian Invasion’, (1966) 87° Lecture Theatre 6, University of Essox. ‘Admission Free. Introductory talk by cite Kiler Fl’ about the Mexican Wrestling Fm genre followed by screening of Uwe documentary “Luctrtel, pantalla bajo la meéiscara/The Soreon under the Mask’, (2003) 42", Film screening 6 om: ‘La Leyenda de una méscara/ The legend, of a Mask’, (1989) 95° Lecture Theatre 6, University of Essex. With comments by special guest igracio Duran, cultural attaché of Mexico in London and producer ofthe fm ‘Admission Free. Wrestling match at the Colchester Aris Centre featuring 1 Hijo del Santo vs. Blue Panther. For bookings: call +44 (0) 1206 500 900 or vist Admission; Adults £5 - Concessions £3 Flim Screening ‘Santo contra las fobas/ Sento vs. the werewolves’ (1972) 85°. Lecture Theatre 6, University of Essex. 8p til late: Mexican party Level 2, University of Essex, featuring 0) Guillermo, ‘Admission: fee to holders of wrestling match tickets. Westiing match: The Revenge, at University of Eoeex Dance Hall featuring EI Hjo del Santo vs. Blue Panther. ‘Admission: Adults £5 - Concessions £3 ‘68 pm: Opening ofthe exhibition ARENA MEXICO featuring prints by Demian Fores Cortés at University Gallery Admission Free # OVS ete ace Bis) SSO Sea VP) a DISENTANGLING OF CULTURAL CODES Wrestling maiches play an important role in Latin American popular culture, with idiosynoratic heroes and villains parading their physical abilities in the theatre of the ring. The young and the elderly alike enjoy such spectacles, ‘which reach communities within such fresh and unpretentious frameworks as a Sunday fair, a circus, or a street performance. But the art of free wrestling has achieved special status and sophistication in Mexico, where the most famous wrestling neroes have even become movie Stars. Wrestling is deeply embedded in mass culture, providing a supply of working-class heroes and somehow releasing @ subtext of justice that has been fost in other arenas of life. In this way, the cathartic element of resting mars its social function, for it carries the heritege of encient rituals which for centuries served as channels for people's belief in good and evil forces. Some wrestlers have also engaged in tinely political activity, thuis transcending the symbolic realm and acting out Public performances to serve populer agendas. A particularly famous \Wrestler takes the name of Superberrio, ((iterally Super Neighbourhood) Who has been engaged in the for justice of the local inhabitants Of Mexico city's historical centre, evicted In the aftermath of the 1985 earthquake, ‘And of course, the subject has jong fascinated artists with its employment of artifice, identity issues end cesthetic fiamboyance. Icons from popular. ‘culture have infitrated the world of the Visual arts and fllm throughout the 20th century. A classic example is the work of Federico Fellini whose films explored a world of illusion and fantasy against the harsh backdrop of ost war Italy by means of misfits and clowns, depicting their madness and cruelty with great poetic imagination, Rather than resorting to the one-dimensional discourses of neoreslism, he rescued the seductive power of the grotesque from circuses, beauty pageants and dance hall competitions to blend innocence and kitsch with social commentary. Demian Flores Cortés is one of those artists whose choite of the sublect matter is determined by his interest in populer culture: Inspired by the visual splendour of the world of free wrestling, his artworks give it a new dimension by his masterfully portraying masked, Identities and enhancing romantic iconographies in elaborate patterns. Within the arena of his prints he sets in motion and pays homage to a world of fictional existences, producing an effect of high pitch visual intensity, | first came aoross a group of works by Demian Flores Cortés in 2002, when I Was intending to orgonise a survey of 20th century Latin American printmaking, anc was Impressed by iis highly complex printing technique, Flores superimposes different techniques - wood end metal engraving, soreen printing, offset lithography - which somehow echo. the layers of Images produced by motion during the wrestiing spectacle. Se Ae Iwas even more impressed when | met the artist in Mexico in 2003 and found ‘out more, The roots of the UECLAA. project ARENA MEXICO in the UK lie in. these encounters. Wrestling in the Eastern Region ‘Once the exhibition concept was fixed, we moved on io a spiral of productive discussions about the possibilities of framing the prints within a programe of related events. Could we ‘complement them with some live wrestling? For this purpose UECLAA was fortunate to receive the generois Support of the Arts Council of England, without whose understanding of the relevance of organising real Mexioan Wrestling matohes in the East of England we could rot have invited the legendary Hilo del Santo and Blue Panther to perform thelr magio in Essex, It was not easy to find a vente for Mexican wrestling in Essex but we struck lucky with Anthony Roberts, visionary director of the Colchester Arts Centre, whose imagination and ity Is enabling us to bring wrestling to a church building for the first time in history. We are indebted to Paul Tyrrell of UWA (Uitimate Wrestling Association) for fis enihusiasm and help in supplying the aperopriate resting dre, Wa ate alse very grateful to the following peop! nd institutions: To the Secreta de Relaciones Exteriores in Mexoo end the Mexican Embassy in London for their help in bringing the artist's works to the UK, To Jessica Kenny for lending the project her expertise as gallery director, grag and Claire Birks for involving herselt 50 passionately in the education plogramme of the exhibition. To Liz Pérez Atristain, Edmundo Heméndez, Serafin MartinezJaramillo and all the members of the Mexican society at the University of Essex who have been behind the project from the start. To Lee Pugh, events manager of the Student Union for lending the Dance Hall to present one of the wrestling matches, and to London Print Studio and Visiting Arts for making possibie Demian Fores’ residency in London. ‘The visual exuberance of ARENA MEXICO is being enhanced and spread a wonderful produced in ico with the help of Carlos Molina, ‘@ PhD researcher in the Department of Art History and Theory and the total commitment and generosity of Justo Sierra, director and editor of Origina, a remarkable magazine devoted to promoting contemporary Mexican art and culture. ‘And finally to all those who believe that cultural codes are mate to be disentangled and shared in the ‘celebration of fife: ! wish you all great enjoyment of ARENA MEXICO, Gabriela Salgado rong UECLAA (University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art) ees