Autorretrato queriendo ser Fray Tomás González y escuchando abajeños con la banda de Zacán, incapaz de comunicar la frustración de no poder reconocerme como un narciso iracundo, pobre, obediente, castoy para acabarla de chingar, desplazado, 2014

Installation view: Atopia. Migration, Heritage and Placelessness, Works from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Collection, Centro Cultural Metropolitano, Quito, Ecuador, 2016
Photo: Sebastián Cruz Roldán & Santiago Pinol

Wood, iron, mirror, nylon rope, leather, concrete, aluminum, galvanized iron, self-adhesive tape, rubber, corncob
800 x 469 x 570 cm
Commissioned by TBA21 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary for the exhibition “Atopia – Migration, Heritage, and Placelessness,” at the Museo de Arte de Zapopan, Mexico, May 14–October 5, 2014, curated by Daniela Zyman and Valentina Gutiérrez

 n his work, which includes sculpture, painting, installation, and video, Abraham Cruzvillegas honors the unpretentious poetics of the precarious lifeworlds built under stark economic constraints. Repurposing discarded, collected, and found objects, his sculptures challenge traditional conceptions of artmaking, relying on improvisation, collaboration, and learning. Cruzvillegas primarily uses available materials and resources based on the location and circumstances at hand.  Perhaps his most famous series, ”Autoconstrucción”—or self-constructing, as the artist calls it in English in order to highlight the concept’s psychological implications—roots his sculptural practice in a methodology of DIY assemblage. Cruzvillegas’s works result from highly personal attachments, and their materials and subjects reveal the artist’s collaborative, philosophical, and ethical commitments. 

Self-portrait wanting to be Fray Tomás González and listening to abajeños with the Zacán band, unable to communicate the frustration of not being able to recognize myself as a wrathful, poor, obedient, chaste and to fucking top it off, displaced narcissist is aspirational, allegorical, and gives insight into Cruzvillegas’s practice. In this work, Cruzvillegas comes to terms with his shortcomings in the face of the admirable deeds of Fray Tomás González, a Franciscan friar and migrants’ rights activist who operates a shelter for migrants called La 72 in Tenosique, in southeastern Mexico. The organized crime groups that control the flow of migrants along the Guatemalan border have targeted González for his peaceful and legitimate work in defense of human rights. As the title intimates, Cruzvillegas contemplates the friar’s remarkable work, while listening to traditional Mexican folk music and realizing that he is also a “displaced narcissist” in need of the friar’s counseling. Made in and for an exhibition in the city of Zapopan, Mexico, and using materials found in the rubble there, the work is also a nod to the artist’s father, who was connected to Zapopan’s Franciscan convent. 


Group exhibition: Abundant Futures
Venue: C3A Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía, Córdoba  
Curator: Daniela Zyman
April 1, 2022 - March 5, 2023
 "Abraham Cruzvillegas: The Art of Resistance", by Patrick Charpenel, in eds. Zyman D., Ebersberger E., Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary:The Commissions Book, Sternberg Press, 2020, download here