Alejandro Cartagena, Suburbia Mexicana

Alejandro Cartagena, Girl Coming Home To Suburb In Juarez From A Night Out In The City from Suburbia Mexicana, 2009



Circuit Gallery brings acclaimed project to Toronto for CONTACT Photography Festival Featured Exhibition

Toronto, ON – April 28, 2011Circuit Gallery is pleased to present, as a Featured Exhibition in the 2011 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, a major solo exhibition of 30 large-format works by contemporary Mexican photographer Alejandro Cartagena from his acclaimed project Suburbia Mexicana: Cause and Effect (2006-2009). The exhibition features works drawn from the project’s constituent parts—Urban Holes, Fragmented Cities, Lost Rivers, and People of Suburbia.

The recent monograph Suburbia Mexicana, co-published by Daylight and Photolucida (2011), accompanies the exhibition. The book features 36 colour plates, an Introduction by Karen Irvine, an Essay by Gerardo Montiel Klint, and an Interview by Lisa Uddin.

Suburbia Mexicana is a documentary project deeply rooted in the local and the particular, in the artist’s own experience living and working in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey. It is an ambitious and committed project that seeks to tell, in multiple chapters, the complex story of the region’s rapid suburban expansion: from urban gentrification and inner-city ‘ghettoization,’ to the seemingly unplanned and unhampered suburban sprawl emanating from many of its fast growing cities, including the environmental consequences.

Alejandro Cartagena’s project pays homage to and distinguishes itself from the New Topographics—a 1970s American exhibition of landscape photography that evolved into a movement. His subjects include: tract housing, inner-city vacant lots, desiccated or polluted rivers, and the residents of these new developments. Yet beyond simple documentation, Cartagena is interested in foregrounding the larger picture: “the Mexican suburbs are symbolic; they represent corruption, a lack of standards in planning, and personal obsessions.” Through a sustained and holistic visual study, Cartagena effectively conveys something about the deeper mechanisms at work–the ideological, political, economic, and social ground–in his “man-altered landscapes.”

Cartagena’s work equally diverges from earlier New Topographic approaches in that it does not simply reject beauty, or seek to coolly “aestheticize the banal.” His images are aesthetically alluring and offer multiple points of resonance, reaching beyond the specific place represented and attesting to something more pervasive and palpable on a global level—greed, corruption, ecological fragility and loss—as shared issues under advanced capitalism.

Alejandro Cartagena lives and works in Monterrey, Mexico. His work has been exhibited and published internationally, and is in several public and private collections in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, and the United States, including the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, the Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR, and the Joaquim Paiva Collection, Sao Paolo, Brazil. He is the recipient of several major national grants, numerous honorable mentions and acquisition prizes in Mexico and abroad. He is represented by Circuit Gallery (Toronto).

Suburbia Mexicana: Cause and Effect runs April 28 through May 29 at Gallery 345, with an OPENING RECEPTION on Thursday May 5, from 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.. The artist will be in attendance.

On Saturday, May 7, from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., Mr. Cartagena will talk about his project and be signing books.

Please visit Circuit Gallery online to see and learn more:

Circuit Gallery at Gallery 345
345 Sorauren Avenue, Toronto, Canada
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Gallery Hours:
Saturdays, 12:00 noon – 5:00 p.m., or by appointment
For more information contact Claire Sykes: | 1-647-477-2487

Alejandro Cartagena, Suburbia Mexicana

Alejandro Cartagena, Fragmented Cities, Escobedo, 2008

Alejandro Cartagena, Suburbia Mexicana

Alejandro Cartagena, Business In Newly Built Suburb In Juarez, 2009

Alejandro Cartagena, Suburbia Mexicana

Alejandro Cartagena, Fragmented Cities, Santa Catarina #2, 2008

Alejandro Cartagena, Suburbia Mexicana

Alejandro Cartagena, Untitled Lost River #16, from the Suburbia Mexicana Project, 2008

Alejandro Cartagena, Suburbia Mexicana

Alejandro Cartagena, Father With Children After Gathering Wood In Juarez Suburb, 2009

Please visit Circuit Gallery online to see and learn more about this work.

About Circuit Gallery

Circuit Gallery is the shared vision and collaborative product of Susana Reisman and Claire Sykes. The gallery specializes in high-end editions of works by emerging and established contemporary artists with an emphasis on photographic, digital and print-based works on paper.

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For more information, contact:
Claire Sykes, Partner, Circuit Gallery
Tel: 647-477-2487