The building that houses Labor Gallery was constructed in 1948 by architect Enrique del Moral on what used to be a ranch and a sand and a tepetate quarry. He lived there with his wife Elisa Madrid Moreno for three decades. After being bought by architect Fernando Romero in 2003, the building was drastically modified in order to accommodate his studio, and since 2012 it has been used as a gallery space.
The main work of the exhibition takes as a starting point the history of the site, more specifically the garden area that, before Romero’s intervention, reached out to where today is the gallery’s exhibition space and warehouse.
My proposal was to carry out an intervention which consisted in connecting the exhibition room with the exterior through a big door that stayed opened during the whole duration of the show. A very big pit was dug in the garden and the picks and shovels used in the job were melted and forged into stamps with which I produced a series of patterns on the walls of the same pit. These patterns were inspired in elements found in the garden such as leaves, flowers and the footprints of the dogs that live there. A concrete cast was obtained from the stamped pit as a negative that was presented inside the gallery space together with the mechanism that made possible its displacement.
Another work was a series of cutting edges from working tools such as chisels, wedges or picks placed on the walls. There is a belief in the ironmonger guild that these pieces of metal, when turned red hot in the forge and then rapidly cooled in a glass of water, transfer their powers to the liquid. By drinking it, one could cure health or emotional maladies, or solve problems at work among many others. I gave these pieces a new function in the exhibition by using them to hold a series of pencil drawings on a very fragile paper based on situation related to the modifications the house has gone through, as well as the melting process of the tools.
The title of the exhibition comes from Hogarth’s “Modern Moral Subjects” and, by associating it with the elements that form the exhibition, it works as a sort of pun. That’s how the painter referred to the satirical series he made based on London’s society of the first half of the eighteenth century.
8 drawings (29.7 x 21 cm) and 2 (42 x 29.7 cm)
pencil on newsprint paper, steel pieces
and cement and TMT bars structure
465 x 360 x 95 cm
Produced by Labor.
With the technical assistance of Bonifacio Lopez's team and Oscar Garduño.