27 September 2003
198 Contemporary Arts & Learning
'The artist, having journeyed to hell ... will go up to the moon guided by those who have preceded him in the attempt. He will consult with the rabbit on how to transmute horse dung into gold ...'
Raúl Piña revealed his new performance, Journey to the Moon, at the unusual venue of Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre in south east London, in the heart of a very multicultural community.
The Mexican artist who now lives and works in London mixes elements from prehispanic Mexican culture and elements from his adopted context, European culture. He draws out universal symbols that exist in the contrasting traditions, and reflects on the relationship of human beings to the cosmos.
In this performance, he used imagery such as a silver-coloured Mexican wrestling mask (the artist is from Pachuca, the site of an old mine, and silver is also the colour of the moon), and a recurring motif in his work, the rabbit. The horse was a symbol for war.
Piña's performance was a metaphorical 'ascension to the supreme "level" of intelligence to "ask" the rabbit how to transmute the terror of war into visual beauty': a human quest for knowledge and harmony. In his Journey to the Moon, the artist presented an expression of hope that people might learn to live in a way that moves more from the material towards the spiritual, in harmony with the world around them. His wish is more pertinent than ever in the contemporary climate of global capitalism and wars.
Raúl Piña has participated in many group exhibitions in London and Mexico. This is his second solo event in London. His work is in the University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art.
With thanks to the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre
Venue: Events Area, First Floor,Elephant & Castle Shopping CentreElephant & Castle, London SE1 6TE