a three-part exhibition at sfer ik tulum
Colombia-born artist Cristina Ochoa presents her work at SFER IK Museion with a multisensory, interactive exhibition dubbed PHARMAKON: Psicotropical Symbiotics. curated by museum director Marcello Dantas, The comprehensive show explores Mayan pharmacological tradition in three-parts, with artworks in the form of visual art, installation, performance, ceremony, and interactive programming. The exhibition opened on August 13th in the institution’s satellite space SFER IK Tulum, which is located on the grounds of the AZULIK facilities.
images, video courtesy Roth Productions
cristina ochoa translates mayan tradition into new artworks
The first and second parts of the exhibition at SFER IK Tulum introduce Cristina Ochoa’s years-long investigation into the flora at the heart of sacred Mayan texts, the Popol Vuh and the Chilam Balam. The artist‘s visual works — largely ceramic, glass, and fabric — are woven into the greater installation to draw on the myths and ceremonies related to the ceiba, the most sacred tree for the ancient Mayans, as well as the story of the jícara and the sangre de drago in Popol Vuh, among others.
converting the gallery into a ‘womb-like’ space
Through sound, video, installation and action, Ochoa introduces visitors to the rituals associated with these Mayan power plants, reiterating ancient practices and knowledge on the verge of extinction. Dyed fabrics, imbued with such spiritual verdure, envelope SFER IK Tulum’s biomorphic interior, converting the ‘gallery’ into a womb-like space whereby the artist demonstrates the interconnectedness of everything in the natural world through immersive media experiences and live ceremonies performed by local ritual leaders.
The show also includes an experimental laboratory, where site-specific works of art, videos, spaces for relaxation, consultation and apothecary evoke the powers of plants to recall stories of ancient and current inhabitants of the Mayan jungle that surrounds the museum. Collectively, ‘Pharmakon’ reflects on humanity’s mystical relationship with the plant world in contemporary times.
Born in Colombia but now based in Mexico, Ochoa has developed her practice around the medicinal and ritual uses of plants. She draws on cultural myths and explores how they are produced and assimilated through diverse media, either as part of a method for manipulation and power exertion or as a search for identity and meaning.
To the artist, myths are created, spread, consumed, and reproduced repetitively until they are slowly routinized and normalized. In PHARMAKON: Psicotropical Symbiotics, Ochoa combines her interests in sacred mythology with the power and ceremony associated with plants.