The route of friendship is running into a wall / Make Brutalism beautiful again, 1968 / 2018

In 1968, Mexico City hosted the Olympic games which have been very important for the rapid urbanization of the city but the Olympics served as a stage for protests of student movements in Mexico and elsewhere. Running up to the games, a symbol of peace, the Mexican government massacred between 300 and 400 students, who were indiscriminately mowed down by government forces during prostest. Of social justice. Political tensions arose due to massive spending for the games and any resistance to improve the situation for labor and farmers. Far over a thousand people were arrested and countless people injured. To this day, there is still not much clarity and research or any kind of acknowledgement of guilt from the side of the Mexican government. The games are also remembered for the US athletes John Carlos and Tommie Smith, who greeted their Olympic medals with the Black Power Salute, a raised fist and a lowered head.

Mexico City also staged an ambitious international art exhibit with the telling name Route of friendship consisting exclusively of large concrete sculptures that where supposed to be colored and placed along a new highway rout leading out of the then smaller city. Today, many of these sculptures are still in place but have been absorbed by the city now unrecognized asking to hope for International friendship.

Hegel’s idea of historical repetition as a farce is proven right today once more, 50 years later, when racial tension in the USA are again in the open and expressed with Black Power symbols at sports events. Donald Trump, the most divisive president of the USA in many decades, is in the business of constructing a “big, beautiful wall with Mexico” and implements the exit from international trading deals that include Mexico and the rest of the world according to his “America First” logic.

As a new installment of my ongoing Strange Teaching project I will ask various students to take up the original idea of the route of friendship and place works made of concrete along a route to be yet determined. With no productions budget and no permits, artist-students are asked to install works clandestinely along a new route of friendship. The works should be also made of concrete, but have to remain unidentifiable, stealthy, absorbed by its regular surrounding, so it is not removed or sanctioned. It is the art of each participant to find a way to insert him or herself into public space through Mexico City. The artist run space, Ladron (Thief), our generous hosts for the duration of this process, will show models, drawings and documents of the process and the final works and organize some tours to the actual works in place. At Ladron we will also try to host lectures and improvised classes according to the logic of Strange teaching.

Given the international scope of the original projectI I try to invite students from various countries and art academies to join and re-work the very idea of a series of Friendship sculptures in a time of open chauvinist hostilities, new political formations of fascisms and a rejection of globalist views of an open world. The 1968 selection of participating countries appears random with Germany, Britain, Netherlands, and any Nordic Countries missing. From Central and South America, only Uruguay and Mexico participated with the host country executing even two projects. Hence, our group consisting of semi-randomly put together internationals will not attempt to regroup along national lines but rather along conceptual and artistic once.

Thus we will try to free THE OPTIMISTIC IDEA OF FRIENDSHIP AND HOPEFULLY RELEASE SOME OF THE ORIGINAL ENTHUSIASM already created on the very site of the 1968 Olympics resisting the new fascisms of the current world.


2nd half of April.
Mexico City
Hosting gallery. - LADRON, Marek Wolfryd , no material support but logistical and …



This is hilarious



------THE EXHIBITION--------



Rainer Ganahl

installation photo coming

DRAIN STOPPER 1964 / 1967 / 1968, 2018
concrete 15cm diameter x 2 cm
Edition of 8, 2 AP, and 3 to be place in Mexico City, New York and Berlin made in concrete. 
Edition of 8, 2 AP made in bronze. ,