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14 Sep 2008

Autoconstrucción by Abraham Cruzvillegas at the CCA



26 September – 8 November 2008
Tuesday - Saturday, 11am - 6pm

+44 (0) 141 352 4900
+44 (0) 141 332 3226

350 Sauchiehall Street
G2 3JD

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The result of a six month joint residency at the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) and Cove Park, Autoconstrucción opens at the CCA in Glasgow on 26 September. In the exhibition, Mexican artist Abraham Cruzvillegas charts the evolution of his family's house and finds, in its making, the roots of his current sculptural practice.

Cruzvillegas' roots provide a metaphor for the self-conscious process of creating an identity and methodology for the construction of his artistic practice. Drawing together a diverse series of elements including an exhibition, a series of musical performances, a procession across a city and a book, the key element in all off Cruzvillegas' work is the concept of sharing, framed by a makeshift DIY aesthetic.

Cruzvillegas comments, 'Very important parts of this project are collaboration and creation in a 'contaminated' cultural environment, which means shifting something very personal and subjective, from my own experience, to a very local platform and circumstance…

'Improvising with materials from the context: wool, sheep shit, chicken wire, discarded furniture, cardboard, stones, grass or my own hair…' All elements of Cruzvillegas' work typify his practical and metaphorical uses of the labyrinthine building process of his family's house in Ajusco, Mexico.

To support the exhibition, Cruzvillegas has written a text drawn from his own memories that records the social life of Ajusco and how the area's unique, organic architecture evolved. He has also written a series of 18 lyrics that transform his childhood memories into something more surreal. The lyrics were offered to a wide variety of musicians in Scotland for their own interpretation. The songs are currently being recorded and will be published on CD and broadcast by Cruzvillegas throughout the streets and squares of Glasgow, using a sound system constructed as a mobile sculpture.

In the exhibition spaces of Autoconstrucción, the sound system and the documentation of its life in the streets will be on display. Besides this large scale work, Cruzvillegas presents the sculptural improvisations made in his rural studio at Cove Park.

Finally, one room will be dedicated to situating Cruzvillegas' personal and artistic experience of Ajusco within the broader social and historical context of Mexico since the 1960s.


Autoconstrucción is the result of a six month joint residency at the Centre for Contemporary Arts and Cove Park, supported by the Henry Moore Foundation.

Abraham Cruzvillegas (born 1968) is a Mexican artist and sculptor. He studied Philosophy and Fine Arts at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), where he was a student of Gabriel Orozco.

In 2002 he represented Mexico at the São Paulo Art Biennial, and in 2003 he participated in the 49th Venice Biennale in the section curated by Gabriel Orozco. Museum solo shows include amongst others Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca (MACO), Mexico. Furthermore he has participated in shows at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and The Hayward Gallery.

In 2007, Cruzvillegas collaborated on the book 'Los Dos Amigos' with Mexican artist Dr Lakra.

He was brought up in an area of Mexico City called Ajusco. Driven by necessity the community was built through collaboration which bred a system of social and political solidarity. It was a culture of hybridity and the model of construction became intertwined with the model for living.

Cruzvillegas outlines the political and cultural context surrounding the troubled growth of Ajusco and similar communities. Drawing on his own memories, he has recorded in a text the details of the ways in which the area's unique architecture evolved.

Cruzvillegas' mobile sculpture was constructed in collaboration with John O'Hara, a fabricator working in a project called The Common Wheel, a charity that provides 'meaningful and therapeutic activity for people with mental illness.' The charity's approach to its work, achieved through recycling old bikes, mirrors the ethos of the artist.