What to See During Mexico City’s Art Week

From Débora Delmar’s sculptures critiquing gentrification to Deli Gallery’s inaugural show at their new location, these are the must-see shows in CDMX

BY Gaby Cepeda in Critic's Guides , Exhibition Reviews | 09 FEB 23

Débora Delmar


4 February – 1 April

Débora Delmar, ‘Castles’, 2023, installation view. Courtesy: the artist and Llano, Mexico City

This is Débora Delmar’s first solo show in Mexico City since 2014: her near-decade absence has been all the more deeply felt for her increased influence on the city’s scene. The exhibition sees the artist build on her previous work on gentrification, speculation and inflation as forces shaping the city. Her reference points range from the colonial Chapultepec Castle, built for a Viceroy of ‘New Spain’, to the visual language of contemporary real estate development and the aesthetic habits of Mexico City’s recent influx of digital nomads. The show also includes autobiographical elements, such as Locator “66” (2023), an illuminated house number sign, representing the address of Delmar’s family home in a golf club development in the southern part of the city. Another piece, Community (2023), transforms the typical suburban fences of the artist’s neighbourhood into minimalist sculptures indented in the gallery walls. Inflatable sculptures of Chapultepec’s towers and scaffolding complete Delmar’s sober critique of the processes that push out increasing number of the city’s inhabitants.

Berenice Olmedo


6 February – 25 March

Berenice Olmedo, ‘Entelékheia’, 2023, installation view. Courtesy: the artist and Lodos, Mexico City; photograph: Ramiro Chaves

With her second solo show at Lodos, Berenice Olmedo continues to experiment with materials and technology, as she did so compellingly last year at Kunsthalle Basel. Her curvy, eerily translucent sculptures invite us to question our ideas about the human body, advocating an understanding of life as unending variation, the opposite of unity and uniformity. Olmedo explores the qualities considered to define a disabled or deformed body, as well as those that exist outside narrow-minded ideas of normality. Olmedo creates her ambitious formal experiments by mushing together asymmetrical forms pulled from a medical archive of cast stumps. Her pieces hang from clinical chrome structures in bulbous formations, evoking hanging meat, but also, surprisingly, children at play.

Jou Morales & David Zafra


4 February – 1 April

Jou Morales and David Zafra, ‘Mobile Suit’, 2023, installation view. Courtesy: the artist and Campeche, Mexico City; photograph: Ramiro Chavez

The exhibition ‘Mobile Suit’ is the product of a collaboration between Jou Morales and David Zafra, two members of the beloved Oaxacan collective YOPE. As the title implies, with its nod to the anime series Mobile Suite Gundam (1979–80), the pair are fascinated by machines, and the opportunities technology might grant us to move beyond our usual material possibilities. Zafra is known for tech-inspired clay sculptures and a formality influenced by the Mexican urban environment, incorporating elements of graffiti and a colourful mix of vernacular materials; Morales, a painter, for his dystopian landscapes populated by strange, expressive, mostly non-human characters. Using Donají clay from Oaxaca, the artists built ‘Mobile Suit’ (2023), a series of sculptures of anime-like figures, coated in black enamel car paint that adds a sheen of the mechanical to the organic medium. Juxtaposing an artisanal material with an industrial aesthetic – Donají is usually used in the creation of traditional pots and plates – the works expand our conceptions of technology and resource extraction, blurring the boundary between the natural and the manufactured.

Naomi Rincón Gallardo

Parallel Oaxaca

6 February – 18 February

Naomi Rincón Gallardo, Verses of Filth (chamarra), 2021, video still. Courtesy: the artist and Parallel Oaxaca

This event will mark the Mexico City premiere of Versos de Porquería (2021), a film by Naomi Rincón Gallardo previously shown in Guadalajara in 2021 and at the Museu de Arte Moderna in Rio de Janeiro last year. Rincón Gallardo, who has described her work as a project of ‘mythical-critical surrealism’, draws on academic research, indigenous storytelling and activist testimonies to create intense, experimental movies whose characters explore the underbelly of death and violence even as they seek pleasure and knowledge. Versos de Porquería is inspired by tzocuicatl, a Nahua funerary rite whose name translates as ‘songs of filth’, which served for the community as a religious and cosmological assimilation of death and the inevitable rotting of the body. In Rincón Gallardo’s interpretation, a Cihuateteo, a re-incarnated feminine spirit, turns into a ‘pepenadora’ (scavenger), not rummaging through the city’s rubbish heaps in desperate search of a flimsy living, but gathering dead bodies and cultural debris, running into vultures and disembodied arms, to take part in a psychedelic, pleasure-driven ritual of death and rebirth.

‘Hic Sunt Dracones’

Deli Gallery

10 February – 19 March

ASMA, Spiraling Over-Thinker, 2023. Courtesy: Deli Gallery

New York-based Deli Gallery’s inaugural exhibition in their Mexico City outpost brings together a group of local and international artists. The selection, mostly painting, porcelain and drawings, is eclectic, organized around currently popular concepts of the expansiveness and limitlessness of the body. Of the local favourites, ASMA shows Spiraling Over-Thinker (2023), one of their fantastical, platinum silicon sculpture-reliefs; Nicole Chaput, a rising star, a trio of her ongoing series of paintings of weird witchy goddesses; and Argentinian-born, Oaxaca-based Carolina Fusilier presents some deeply hued, post-human dreamscapes painted in oil. Of the international artists, a highlight is Queens-based Astrid Terrazas, with her intense, mystical, multi-layered painting La mujer con cara de buitre (2023); as is Amia Yokoyama, whose drippy, sexy feminine porcelain figures are painted in whimsical hues. The show positions Deli’s smart curation, keen on identifying early promise as well as making space for slower-burning creativity.

 Main Image: Naomi Rincón Gallardo, Verses of Filth (cihuateteo final), 2021, video still. Courtesy: the artist and Parallel Oaxaca 

Gaby Cepeda is an independent curator and arts writer.