As our weekly assignment for the third week of the semester, we had to go Guillermo Trejo’s exhibition Protesta.
I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed when I entered the ARPRIM gallery; I think I was under the impression that the exhibition would have been much bigger than it actually was (from my past experience, I had only been to quite larger exhibitions than this one). Also, the exhibition space seemed rather empty, because Trejo’s prints were all white on a white wall.
Nonetheless, once my first impression put aside, Trejo’s exhibition was quite powerful. As soon as you entered the room, you felt the tension in his prints between the Mexican government and the public. You knew, even if your understanding of Spanish is very limited, that the slogans did open many debates back in Mexico. In fact, the whole essence of this exhibition is to reveal the role of prints in public space, and how the government in Mexico quickly removes these powerful slogans and commentaries that are in opposition with the government’s political views.
Trejo’s prints themselves symbolize the procedure used by the Mexican government to remove the posters that were put up in public spaces during protests. Indeed, the words were printed in bold black ink, but then covered in white ink. Because the white ink was not totally opaque, the white would only partially cover the slogans so that they would seem faded, but still readable.
To find these prints in Montreal made me realize how the very powerful slogans could, to some extent, be applied here in Quebec. With all the controversy surrounding the Charte des Valeurs Québecoises, the collusion in our government and the student strike last year, we might not be better off than Mexico…
These are examples of slogans that could be found in Trejo’s prints:
“Behind every fascism there is a failed revolution.” – this slogan was actually the first one you noticed when you enter the gallery, since it is hung on the wall opposite of the gallery entrance.
“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find a meaning in the suffering.”
“Paz con justicia y dignidad”, or “Peace with justice and dignity.”