Why Alejandro Garcia Contreras Rules by Scott McGovern (2017)
Alejandro is a dark priest of visual culture of the highest order. His unique vision resonates no matter what medium he uses, never compromised or fumbling. He samples thousands of years of human artifacts to blend the ancient with the contemporary, across cultures, geography, and religion, in a quest to find the essence of the human spirit. Images of magic, symbols, and nature are mixed with mainstream and trash culture to reconfigure ideas, casting beams of light on new possibilities and truths, ultimately questioning what we value.
Alejandro is from Chiapas, arguably the most unique and independent state in Mexico, and home to several indigenous groups, languages, and traditions. He spends most of his time there at the DEDAZO artist residency he runs (currently accepting applications!) but can sometimes be found in Mexico City, Los Angeles, Europe, and even Canada.
Every breath he takes and every decision he makes is for the purpose of creating his next project. He’s a particularly talented ceramist who is always learning new techniques, pushing his own boundaries, and both honours and destroys traditions at once. He knows that to make serious artwork, you also have to have fun. The viewer is provoked into discovering new ideas, instead of coddling the opinions they already have. He’d probably get kicked out of most art programs at Canadian universities for being too offensive, but personally I’m far more insulted by boring art that looks like yesterday’s reheated aesthetics.
I research a lot of artists, but Alejandro just kept appearing to me through no effort of my own. Images of his work have been showing up on my computer screen for years. I feel like it wasn’t a choice to end up working with him but more just something that the universe wanted to make happen. Recently, I had the honour to finally meet him when I was in Mexico City, and I felt like I was meeting one of my heroes. He is truly a alchemist of visual culture, and that’s why he rules.