Category: Documentary

The JMA Matriarchive in Resistance

Curated by Yohanna M. Roa

Installation view of “The JMA MATRIARCHIVE In Resistance”. Courtesy of WhiteBox

For the second exhibition at its new East Village venue, WhiteBox showcased “JMA Matriarchive In Resistance”, a complex interactive project curated by Yohanna M. Roa; an  exhibition doubling up as the premiere worldwide activation of the Mexican-Lebanese pioneer ecofeminist architect Josefina Mena’s archive reconsidered within the contemporary paradigm of New York’s present-day artistic, cultural, environmental, and socio-political scene. This proposal constitutes the seventh chapter in the EXODUS Series celebrating émigré artists in New York City. Questioning the ‘use’ of the archive and of its memory, a select number of key documents going back to the 1967-76 period, from the Mexican-Lebanese pioneer ecofeminist architect Josefina Mena’s Matriarchive were activated by contemporary NYC based immigrant artists.  The task at hand for each artist was to respond and react to Mena’s works from the present day, each availed of its own experience. As fodder, the curator-archivist Roa selected works from a network of collaborative actions Mena did in various localities, in this instance concentrated in Portugal, Mexico, Chile and London.

What do we see in an Matriarchive? It is not the inert evidence of an individual event arranged on those classic chipboard walls that serve the documentary purposes so well; the dialectic and multiple relationships between forces, bodies, and threads of different histories interweaved. At least, that is what we see in a living, open archive such as in this one. In her lecture for the opening of the exhibition, Ángeles Donoso Macaya recalled Ariella Azoulay’s challenging ideas about revolutionizing the archive: the Matriarchive as a feminist practice that defies the ways documents should be presented and made accessible to the public.

Installation view of “The JMA MATRIARCHIVE In Resistance”. Courtesy of WhiteBox

One of the artist’s … Click here to read more