Carte Blanche to Frédéric Bonnet
Polvo de Gallina Negra (Maris Bustamante & Mónica Mayer)
Curatorship: Frédéric Bonnet
On the occasion of J’aime les rose pâle et les femmes ingrates, a group exhibition of the artist Sarah Tritz thought as a dialogue between her recent productions and works that feed her reflexion, the artist gives carte blanche to Frédéric Bonnet to propose a video program in echo to her exhibition.
The action is not insignificant: in such a macho country, two women artists take over a television set in order to - first transgression - produce a participatory and collective performance and – second transgression – to try to make a man understand, physically and mentally, what the experience of a pregnant woman can be like.
Founded in 1983 by Maris Bustamante (b. 1949) and Mónica Mayer (b. 1954), Polvo de Gallina Negra [Black Hen Powder, in fact a concoction with magical powers supposed to protect against the evil eye] was the first feminist art collective in Mexico, active until 1993. Its claimed project was, among other things, to analyze the image of women in the media and to alter the reality, visual as well as lived, of a femininity cast in a patriarchal order; with motherhood in particular in the line of fire.
A long-term project that has taken the form of participation in events as well as texts, conferences, performances or exhibitions, ¡ Madres ! led the artists to transgress with humor the biological and social stereotypes associated with motherhood, making themselves very active in the public space or through mail art, a way of approaching a wider public.
One of their most striking actions, Madre por un Día [Mother for a Day], took place on August 27, 1987, when they appeared live on the talk show Nuestro Mundo, which had 200 million viewers and was broadcast on one of the channels of Televisa, the most powerful television group in Mexico. The journalist Guillermo Ochoa, with a sense of humor, is drawn into the experience of being the first man to become a “Mother for a Day”, while at the same time being crowned “Queen of the Household”, as every mother is in a highly codified system.
Or when TV could sometimes be used to awaken consciences, not to say bring a touch of resistance.