Exploring post-isms and their meaning(lessness) is a prominent part of Gutiérrez’s practice. He has made several series like the Post everything drawings, which are in fact just texts written in Gutiérrez’s distinct scratchy handwriting, that reflect on contemporary and post-modernist art. The series consists of works like Odd beast that states “This drawing is crucial for those who wish to gain insight into that odd beast called post modernism” and, of course, The best drawing ever. More permanent (although that’s up for debate according to Gutiérrez) are his Post-tattoos: The marks of outcasts. One tattoo reads “occupy the flesh” explicitly referencing the location of the tattoo, i.e. the human body, while others ironically refer to the unique and personal nature of the contemporary tattoo (“the best tattoo in the world”), turning the way they generate meaning inside out.
Although he extensively explores the notion of the absurd, Gutiérrez does not imply that we should fall by the wayside. According to the artist the world as we know it will collapse and when that happens art and the artist should be prepared. This is also why Gutiérrez founded The End Biennial, an exhibition which revolved around the “fantasy of the end of western civilization via the aesthetics of mass media and entertainment”, and ‘Into the Wild’, an extreme residency programme which invites artists and curators to live in complete isolation for a period of three weeks. Residents are not expected to produce artworks but “to survive”. In short, the residency questions the meaning and necessity of art in extreme conditions and tries to invoke new perspectives. Is there room for art and aesthetics when you’re trying to survive?
Gutiérrez explored these subjects in the artwork he made as part of his residency at Impakt, as well as the idea of teenage utopia. Contrary to the cynicisms that gradually overrun our thoughts in adult life, young people, naively perhaps, believe in their capacity to change the world.
From August till the end of September 2012 Impakt hosted Mexican artist Rubén Gutierrez. His stay in Utrecht was part of the European Media Artists in Residence Exchange (EMARE) programme.
The Most Effective Way To Cover Up A Lie (The Netherlands 2012, work in progress)
This video displays concepts sitting on the fence between science fiction, documentary and reality. The work shows different versions of reality made in the Utrecht area relating to ironic post-philosophical stories about Holland’s current (political) state of affairs. In a cynical way Gutierrez refers to Hollywood and independent film productions.
Magnetic Force (Mexico 2001, video, 03:47 min)
In this video, Kaliman, a mythical action hero, enters a state of trance after sensing some sort of cosmic force.
Endless D-queen (Mexico 2002, 00:28 min)
A glitch inside: Hasta el viento tiene miedo (Mexico, 1968) a horror cult film.
Como Estas Satanas? (How are you Satan?) (Mexico 2001, 01:11 min)
This is a view of the evil side of “El chavo del ocho” the most popular mexican tv show ever. One character called “the witch from apt 71″ is looking for her cat called Satanas.
The Shoes of the Fisherman (Mexico 2003, 01:17 min)
Anthony Quinn makes his way out of a tricky question anarcho-primitivism style.
Leatherface (Mexico/The Netherlands 2001, 02:40 min)
An approach to leatherface, the artist, with documentation from one of his early works.
Surrender Felipe (Mexico 2010, 01:20 min, loop)
A video installation in loop, a parody from the wizard of oz in reference to the situation of violence in Mexico.