Unpredictable Visions Salon ACME #11

A visitor who preferred not to reveal their identity attended the latest edition of Salón ACME in its eleventh edition curated by Ana Castella; here, they share their impressions of their first visit to the fair.


Within the large number of activities and offers possible at Mexico City Art Week, Salon ACME has established itself as one of the most innovative, appealing and inviting platforms, an essential artistic destination that cannot be missed during this time of the year. Salon ACME defines itself as a contemporary art fair, a platform for emerging national and international artists and projects, although for an unsuspecting viewer it may be a bit difficult to understand its structure.

The 11th edition, under the direction of curator Ana Castella, was distributed in six sections that housed the works of hundreds of artists invited or selected through an open call and who were chosen by a curatorial committee. The event took place at Proyectos Publicos, a fabulous historic house located in Colonia Juarez, which looks like it is in a state of demolition or restoration. The property is the first thing that attracts attention: the size of the house, which in itself is an installation; how complex it was to tour it, the patios, the exuberant plants that adorn it and how overwhelming it can be to visit it, due to the large number of works exhibited in the rooms, lounges and on all the floors of this space. It was necessary to make an effort to concentrate, go up and down stairs, as well as enter all the rooms of the house, always full of people, whose irregular walls of different tones and a palimpsest of paintings from different periods were imposed and, at times, they made it quite difficult to pay attention to the pieces on display.

Those of us who did not previously know what it meant to go to Salon ACME found ourselves with a massive event, quite well geared and very positioned on the scene; a very crowded and huge stage. The place where everyone wants to go, an artistic event that no one wants to miss, the event for which people form very long lines as if it were a concert that had been sold out in advance, a business model that, without making a waste of analysis, seems to be quite successful.

Salon ACME has established itself as one of the most innovative, appealing and inviting platforms, an essential artistic destination that cannot be missed during this time of the year

The experience at Salon ACME is like being at a prolonged opening, in a constant inauguration for several days with thousands of well-dressed people around, party, music, DJs, concerts, gringos, curators, artists, art actors who are not artists, tourists, a large gastronomic offer, and drinks that were purchased with a bracelet that was previously charged.

In order to understand the Salon ACME scheme a little more, we will revisit its sections:

Convocatoria (Call) is the main section of the project and was chosen by a curatorial council that presented the work of approximately 80 artists.

Bodega (Cellar) is the section curated by the Guadalajara 90210 space and presented a mix between participants from past editions and new artists.

Estado (State) highlights curatorial and artistic practices from different regions of the country; it was curated by Abril Zales with the state of Nuevo Leon as the guest region for this edition.

Proyectos (Projects), under the curatorship of Ana Castella, presented 27 gallery proposals from Argentina, Colombia, Spain, Canada and Mexico, arranged in 27 rooms of the house.

Patio (Courtyard) is a section dedicated to large-format installations and occupies the central part of the house. Jeronimo Reyes-Renata was in charge of carrying out its installation.

Finally, Sala (Living Room) is the section curated by Terremoto under the name of Delusional Matters, a careful selection of author publications, posters and other printed art formats around different alternative projects from Latin American publishers. A stage dedicated to words as a vehicle of radical political imagination.

Although there was very clear signage on each section and although I tried several times to follow a more strict route, it seemed preferable to get lost in the spatial syncretism proposed by the fair, to be part of the pilgrimage and wander around every corner of the premises, without wondering too much what it was about. A little drifting and enjoying the mezcal and the atmosphere. It becomes a bit difficult to talk about particular works. The general feeling, very personal and a little irresponsible due to the lack of concentration, is that there was something excessive in the event for calmer and more contemplative sensibilities: many, many things to see, many and very diverse works. Salon ACME, unlike the sobriety proposed by traditional art fairs, has a young, more volatile and unbridled spirit. Salon ACME is like the dream of the alternative space that matured, grew older and grew well, without losing its effervescent, chaotic and festive essence.


At first glance and without delving too deeply into it, I had the feeling that a large part of the proposals focused on the brilliance of the piece, on the automatic effect, on the outstanding, velvety work. During all the tours I set out to do, I was a little overwhelmed by the number of works to see and the overlapping visual effects, which were constant in many of them. Although I remember works with a little more local context, the general impression that I was left with was that of being in the middle of a very global idea of production, many device-works, pieces with mechanisms of different types and, to a certain extent, effective, shiny works, installations, gadget works, performances and sound works coexisting with a large number of more traditional works such as paintings, sculptures and drawings.

Salon ACME is like the dream of the alternative space that matured, grew older and grew well, without losing its effervescent, chaotic and festive essence.


Within this oceanic offering of works to see and activate, my memory retained a couple of pieces that shined, although in a way other than grandiloquence. The first was the installation of leather belts – very macho – on a wall, with inscriptions in gold letters about abuse; it was perhaps one of the most simple but impressive pieces and commented on by the public. Also, on one of my last tours of the house, I was captivated by a painting, a vertical green plane a little more than two meters high, an oasis of tranquility in the face of previous excess, translated into a calm and friendly painting like a peaceful lake; the infraordinary antithesis to most things I had seen before. The green was not a full color, but showed traces of previous layers of paint; I thought it was a simile to the palimpsest on the walls of the Salon ACME house. Precisely, this piece was made in a very similar house, with traces of several pasts, with traces of the history of a house, subtly sanded on several canvases and hung on the walls of a very old house in Florida, province of Buenos Aires, where the artist Camila Lamarca made the painting within the framework of a residency. The final piece is a kind of frottage, which reveals the surface of the drawn walls by contact with them. At that moment, I thanked the painting for surviving, and the basic procedures of art for continuing to amaze with subtlety, with pieces like this one, in which it is clear that it is not necessary to draw so much attention in order to shine.

For those who prefer quieter and more contemplative spaces with linear routes, perhaps you could think about it a little before deciding to visit in the future. Art circuits generally have this festive mood, or at least in Latin America, where they are almost always like this. In our countries, the art world is somewhat detached from global social reality. Throughout the fair circuit I was able to see very few works with defined political positions on the global political situation, just in a week in which there were strong protests by pro-Palestine activists at MoMA NY and in other countries.

Salon Acme is a great mass festival of art, with everything that implies living it for several days, having the capacity and the spirit to survive it. I perceived it as a very intense, frenetic and fun social event, with the house completely full every day. The offering of works seemed enormous, super varied, at times superficial and overwhelming, an unforgettable sensory experience, lived in a beautiful, immense and labyrinthine property.



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