Manuel Chavajay and Rebecca Wilcox: This Might Be A Place For Hummingbirds
Good work suffers from an overcrowded and badly considered exhibition
Following on from the CCA’s double solo show last year with Mounira al Solh and Sarah Forrest, This Might Be a Place for Hummingbirds presents work by Guatemalan artist Manuel Chavajay and Glasgow-based artist Rebecca Wilcox. The exhibition is co-curated by Pablo Jose Ramirez and Remco de Blaaij, who attempt to ‘create a place which interrogates and compares the artists’ work’.
Chavajay’s output explores the struggles and suppressions of Guatemalan indigenous communities, of which he is part, specifically exploring the complex and evolving roles of new consumer and producer through a diverse selection of wall murals, hanging ceramics and canvas paintings. Wilcox’s work is removed from Chavajay’s vibrant displays of struggle and explores the constructs and complexities of language, repeated experience, performance and publication.
Small tables hosting projections, audio and reading cards combine to become stirring and engaging works. However, the careful execution of Wilcox’s table in the main gallery space is distracted by Chavajay’s work, especially the hanging ceramics, which would benefit from a space of their own.
Wall murals by Chavajay bookend the main gallery. The most successful is of an elderly woman carrying what would normally be wood for a stove but is, instead, a Guatemalan bank. The piece effectively highlights the role indigenous communities had in the success of the banking system and the further economic exploitations they have been subjected to. Meanwhile, Chavajay’s canvas paintings are compressed to one end of the gallery and feel sidelined, unable to truly engage with the rest of the works.
The pieces within the exhibition are worthy in execution and conception, yet it’s an over-crowded and, at times, badly considered display. This does little to enhance the discussion on the complexities of communication without struggling to force links that dilute the individual work’s intended effect, rather than inform and illuminate it.