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Mexico City Art Week with insider Mara Ortega Arena

Traveler and passionate about art and literature since she was very young, always committed to work for the growth of her country, Mara Ortega Arena is the Head of Development at Museo Tamayo, where she supervises the implementation of the necessary activities and strategies to contribute to the success of the institution's cultural program.

Always with the firm intention of participating in social change, Mara never stops getting involved in creative projects which she believes can make a positive impact in the world.



Ragnar Kjartansson, The Things You See Before The Curtain Hits the Floor:

Ragnar Kjartansson (Reykjavik, Iceland, 1976) uses theatrical conventions and their paradoxes to create works that often examine emotions, imposture, the historical and the autobiographic, as well as the politics of representation. Employing simple strategies such as repetition or the recreation of an action from different scenarios and points of view, the artist produces situations that illuminate the very matter of spectacle. Repetition reveals nuances and variations with the gravity of a mantra and the richness of a kaleidoscopic image. His performances can last up to twelve hours, run continuously in the museum gallery for as long as the exhibition is open to the public, or be recreated every five years. Humor and the absurd appear in his work to amplify and distort meaning.

‍The tension between fiction and lie, spectacle and confession, person and character is the common thread that runs through the performances, installations, videos and paintings in this exhibition by Kjartansson, the first in Latin America. The title of the exhibition is a reference to "Theatre Impressions," a poem by the 1996 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Wislawa Szymborska. In the closing lines, the poet evokes the power of theater once its illusions are revealed and it grows in its artifice: "But the curtain's fall is the most uplifting part / the things you see before it hits the floor: / here one hand quickly reaches for a flower, / there another hand picks up a fallen sword." As is the case in several of Kjartansson's plays, theater is at once simulation and truth.

Through drawing, sculptures, costumes, and installations, Petrit Halilaj’s (b. 1986) migratory creatures gather around a scaled floating structure of the house he and his family built in the country’s capital of Pristina after their old home in Runik was destroyed during the bombings of the Kosovo War. As part of the exhibition, Halilaj has also inscribed a large scale chicken—a bird famously known as one of the few unable to fly—onto a Boeing 737 aircraft operated by Aeroméxico. Both the architectural rendition of his family home and the airplane serve as vessels for Halilaj’s memories of belonging and dreams of migration.

Petrit Halilaj: RUNIK is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Latin America, showcasing how art has not only been his vehicle to travel and learn about the world, but also a medium through which he can explore and express complicated emotions about the history of his homeland and his identity. Now living in Berlin but with strong roots in Kosovo and close ties to several places around the world, Halilaj’s understanding of home is anchored in bonds of affection.


I would definitely not miss visiting Abraham González Pacheco’s show at Campeche gallery (Campeche 130, Roma). 

Abraham is a visual artist, set designer, draftsman and amateur excavator. His work proposes an approach to his family and personal origins with the absent historical core of his town, and through this, he creates archeological fictions to reflect on the idea of identity.


This year is the 20th anniversary of Zona Maco, so this without a doubt will be a very special edition of the fair. And Material Art Fair turns 10, and this fair is also unmissable so you will probably see me there at some point, and without a doubt at their event at Polyforum Siqueiros, opening their doors especially for Carlos Amorales, Estados fragmentados, on Wednesday Feb 7th.

I am of course excited to visit our city’s many galleries, they will mostly be opening new and exciting shows timed perfectly for Art Week and I am sure that we will get to see emerging proposals that will open the conversation on the world’s current social and artistic expression. 

On Thursday, obviously, the Tamayo Gala is a must. The relevance of this event in the international art scene has met no equal and we are happy to host great leaders and impactful artists from around the world in a night filled with delicious food by Contramar, a fun party by Casa Dragones, great musical acts, and of course lots dancing and celebration.

Also, I will be visiting my Maxa and Mayan Warrior friends on Friday Feb. 9th joining them in a magical night that definitely requires dancing shoes!

These, among other happenings, make a pretty exciting week ahead!

Btw, for those who will be traveling both nationally and internationally, keep an eye out to see if you get to be on board the Aeromexico aircraft that has been intervened by the artist Petrit Halilaj, in continuation to his current exhibition at Museo Tamayo and taking art to new heights!


EXPLORE MORE: @maraortegaarena

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