Acts Of Aggression at Pollock Gallery, Southern Methodist University

Acts of Aggression, partial installation view with works by Mario Santizo and Gabriel Rodríguez Pellecer.
Photo by Steven Gonzalez, courtesy of the Pollock Gallery.

A timely and thoughtful exhibition featuring the work of eleven Guatemalan artists across an array of media examines the aftermath of a calamitous civil war that ostensibly ended 20 years ago. While the violence and disarray in this Central American country continues today, the artists in Acts Of Aggression: An Exhibition About Community, on view through Oct 14, seek to explore modes of reconciliation, community building, and new forms of social and political interaction. Guatemala continues to face ongoing conflicts and disagreements among factions that promote historical amnesia, in deadlock with others who seek justice within a society where reactionary positions are manufactured with government assistance. The exhibition, curated by Laura A. L. Wellen, includes pieces by Margarita Figueroa, whose photographic series, Landscape, features black and white photographs of the desolate countryside. By contrast, Hellen Ascoli uses flowers and textile fabric to outline a dead body on the gallery floor in What Remains, 2016, a strong expression of loss. Ines Verdugo’s sculpture, titled Displacement, uses the pieces of a dismantled dollhouse as a floor installation that alludes to paramilitary tactics: Simply destroy residents’ homes and force them to leave. Every piece in this exhibition attests to each artist’s vital commitment to raising awareness about this specific place, but also universal commentary useful to every nation suffering old and new wounds and in need of healing in the future.