Tania Pérez Córdova: Smoke, nearby

Mexico City–based artist Tania Pérez Córdova (Mexican, b. 1979) creates sculptural compositions that are imbued with hints of an active contemporary life put on pause. A borrowed gold earring is suspended from a bronze cast, it’s owner left with one earring; a stranger’s SIM card is embedded in a terra-cotta slab, rendering their cellphone unable to take calls. Through these objects, which the artists calls "contemporary relics," Pérez Córdova underlines how unremarkable situations can be compelling acts associated with the complex infrastructure of social or economic relationships.

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Mexico City–based artist Tania Pérez Córdova (Mexican, b. 1979) creates sculptural compositions that are imbued with hints of an active contemporary life put on pause. A borrowed gold earring is suspended from a bronze cast, it’s owner left with one earring; a stranger’s SIM card is embedded in a terra-cotta slab, rendering their cellphone unable to take calls. Through these objects, which the artists calls "contemporary relics," Pérez Córdova underlines how unremarkable situations can be compelling acts associated with the complex infrastructure of social or economic relationships.


I was thinking of this slow-motion scene in a film where, if you see the fan going so slow, then you would also imagine someone walking super slow and almost kind of thinking everything would be slowed down, and as a kind of tool to get into this rhythm where, maybe because you’re going so slow, now you can actually notice some details that you would not usually think about.

I’ve always thought that my sculptures have two different lives: one as a sculpture, just in its visual terms and to whichever aesthetic they relate to, and one more in terms of these kind of hidden narratives that are not necessarily so visible.

I wanted to create this series of sculptures that would function as a device to create a pause.

The idea was that these objects will borrow something and will make something stop elsewhere.

So, for example, by borrowing the SIM card somebody’s phone would not work. By borrowing a piano key somebody’s piano would not play a song in full.

The pieces that have someone involved, in a staging way, are the contact lenses. Then the SIM cards, which were borrowed. The earring, which has a pair, and the pair can potentially be worn by someone.

The paintings, which are portraits of garments of people who live in Chicago and they actually – these are their garments – so, the dress and the shirt still belong to them; I just borrow them.

I know that the man really likes this shirt, and we made this small agreement that he will pop by the show from time to time wearing the shirt.

We decided not to have specific hours, because again, I think that just knowing that it exists, that’s enough. What I’m interested is in, like, thinking about how we speak about them, like the stories that we embed to them, and how these kind of narratives can relate to more than the actual object, but for example, the space or the characters or the time frame.

So it’s almost like trying to reach outside the materiality of things, and just having these kind of narratives be somehow a little bit unstable.

So I’m always very hesitant to say. "My work is about this" or "It’s about that.” I think things need to be experienced, and the moment you need to explain them you kind of kill the magic of them because it’s in these fragments of language and materials where things exist.