Máximo González: Chignahuapan
March 17 — April 15, 2006
Opening reception for the artist: Friday, March 17, 5:00 — 8:30pm

Skestos Gabriele Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Máximo González: Chignahuapan, the artist’s first solo exhibition in the United States. This exhibition will include new work in a variety of media, including photography, film, sculpture, and installation.

Máximo González transforms common, and often discarded things, such as mylar balloons, keys, paper streamers, and devalued currency into beautifully-crafted, handmade objects that address issues relating to politics, the art market, and everyday life experiences. With meticulous precision the artist breathes new life into everyday materials, creating something completely new, without losing sight of the original source. As an artist, González addresses universal ideas in an attempt to communicate with multiple groups on various cultural and socio-economic levels. Through his choice of immediate, banal materials, the artist connects with a larger audience, while challenging definitions of art.

González produced the body of work included in this exhibition during a one-month stay in the isolated, rural village of Chignahuapan in Mexico. During his visit, the artist worked in collaboration with high school students at a conservative, private school in Chignahuapan to create art that unified elements of learning with the expressive potentials of creative interaction. The result is a large installation in the form of a woven net, constructed entirely of strips of paper hand-cut by the students from their lesson books of the previous year. Education, the learning process and collaborative artmaking were the focus of the project. During the process, photographs were taken of the individual students and various scenes throughout the village, capturing the colorful characteristics of the people and traditions of Chignahuapan. These visuals appear as illuminated portraits throughout the gallery. The artist also recorded his personal interactions with the students through video interviews that document the project. The final element of the installation involves hand-written texts on clear plastic strips – anonymous “wishes” made by the students – that appear as shadowy projections on the gallery walls. During the process, González was helped by two assistants: Viviana Toranzo, from Cordoba, Argentina, who was responsible for the photography, and Guido Yannitto, from Salta, Argentina, who helped coordinate the student’s paper work. Both assistants were integral to the photographic and video documentation of the project, by lending technical expertise, as well as conducting the interviews with the students.

This exhibition marks an important time in the artist’s career in the U.S., as González has just completed a large-scale mural commission – his largest installation to date – for the Chicago offices of Diversified Financial Management Corporation. In September 2006 he will be the subject of a solo exhibition at Art&Idea’s new gallery space in Chelsea, and he will be included in the upcoming group exhibition, Poetics of the Handmade, curated by Alma Ruiz at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, in the spring of 2007. Currently, he lives in Mexico City. For more information contact Skestos Gabriele Gallery at 312.243.1112 or