Mexico City is not that grey anymore: a studio visit.

As my Uber pulled into the sidewalk on a surprisingly sunny day in Mexico City, I realized that even if the traffic of this awfully congested city gets on my nerves every time I would never get tired of paying a mere $5 for a ride across town.


It was open studio day for my friend Zhivago Duncan, a multifaceted artist who was also exhibiting at Zona Maco Art Fair during the week. Zhivago moved from Berlin to Mexico City less than 3 years ago, exchanging the dense orderly german way for the rush and unruly lifestyle of Mexico and its chaotic capital city.


I was dying to see his most recent body of work, a series of batik paintings and sculptures. The most inspiring work and technique I've have noticed in a while. The watery, colorful and free flowing way the pigmented inks give shape to each painting. The use of color. The membranous movement that give way to his take on our origins. A sight to behold.


Zhivago greeting colleagues at "Recinto Escandon" facade, at Escandon neighborhood in Mexico DF.
The largest pieces are divided in panels that allow him to reach for the center of each canvas.
Tools of the trade.

The studio is located at a former primary school at the Escandon neighborhood. Walking around and looking at the inspiring nuances of his space sparked in me a brief but nonetheless intense episode of FOMO.


"Should I move to Mexico City for a while?" - I tought - "How hard would it be? All I need are my brushes and my paints... and the cat! I would bring the cat with me, of course". After sitting on this thought and literally sitting down for 30 minutes looking at the school patio and listening to the DJ Zhivago hired I continued my visit.


The largest pieces were exhibited at the fair in the ballsiest display of creative ownership that I have ever witnessed, and the rest was playfully hung in his current studio.


I have always admired artists who allow themselves the freedom to experiment in new media and to explore subjects that might not seem to relate to each other at first sight. Zhivago epitomizes this ideal to me: complete freedom, and an IDGAF attitude that grants him "permission" to absolutely own every aspect of his life.


These works form part of his ongoing project When our Pineal Glands Were Big, a unique story of creation drawn from imagery in ancient texts such as the Enuma Elis, Bi- ble, the Popol Vuh, the Nommo, Lakota stories and other myths of creation.


The city's grit provided a great contrast to the work.
Former principal's office space.
Ceramic and traditional batik techniques.
All mexican lifeforms allowed.
School hallways.

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©2020 Johanna Boccardo