In the midst of the maelstrom of desires produced by imagination, one can make an analytic distinction between those that are achievable and others that, due to physical or moral conditions, turn into mere illusions. The exhibition El panorama, sobre todo si uno lo ve desde un puente, es prometedor (The view, especially if one looks at it from a bridge, is promising) belongs to the first category. Here, Chantal Peñalosa enables the unfolding of a common desire through her work entitled La idea de un millón de pesos (The idea of a million pesos).
In a repetitive gesture that finds in “frottage” its means of expression, the desiring subject accumulates coins on letter size paper sheets. Each template contains fourteen pesos, while the installation in the exhibition features approximately three thousand sheets. What we see here is barely a small percentage of the process to reach the million. Thus, money becomes a metaphor of desire itself, of repetition and the constant sacrifice that we perform. Looking beyond the limit of the rhetorical figure, we find everyday life: desire implies labour, one of the main concerns in Peñalosa’s artistic practice. Desire is a force that leads to an action that in turn results in labour. How many hours will it take the artist to draw enough coins to achieve a million? Is the effort proportional to its result? What do we actually work for?
What seems to be a poetic and almost philosophical investigation of desire and its manifestation, finds a sudden interruption within a materialistic gesture. While visiting the installation and discovering all the details and differences between the countless representations of the coin, we will reach an empty, almost theatrical setting, with a wooden table and a chair. There, we will discover a pair of sheets representing 28 pesos. On a daily basis, the quantity represented on those sheets will be modified according to the exchange rate between Mexican pesos and American dollars. La idea de un millón de pesos is modified depending on inflation and changes within the global economy. Even if the artist reaches the representation of a million, what does actually determine the value of this quantity?
Curatorial text by Sandra Sánchez