This was the first exhibition in the UK for Mexican collective Tercerunquinto (a third of a fifth). Artists Julio César Castro Carreón, Gabriel Cázares Salas and Rolando Flores Tovar brought their attention to bear on Ikon Eastside and its identity in a district undergoing regeneration. Characteristically concerned to establish a porous relationship between inside and outside, the artists smashed through the gallery walls to open up a view of the urban landscape beyond.
During a residency in Eastside last year the artists documented traces left on recently abandoned buildings by former occupants, honing in on
bricked-up entrances, marks remaining after the removal of old signage or fissures caused by decay or vandalism. The inscription of language onto buildings particularly corresponds with Tercerunquinto’s established interest in institutional self-definition through architectonic modes. At Ikon Eastside, the cuts in the walls were designed to spell out the phrase ‘I am what I am’, an open yet ambivalent statement of identity. On the one hand an honest, even humble declaration it might equally be considered an unwillingness to bend. Tercerunquinto’s cutting through the gallery shell also revealed the fragility of an otherwise seemingly tough space. This gesture, though inspired by a local situation, signals a broader rupture between art and society inherent in modernity itself, while asserting the possibility of a very fluid exchange between institutions and their surroundings.
Tercerunquinto Exhibition Guide (PDF 71kb)
I Am What I Am was supported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
Ikon Eastside, 183 Fazeley Studios, Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 5SE
Open Thursday - Sunday, 1-5pm. Admission free
Ikon Eastside Map (PDF 66kb)