The 1968 games were the first Olympic Games hosted by a developing country, and the first games hosted by a Spanish-speaking country. It was the only games ever held in Latin America. Only ten days before the 1968 Olympic Games were to open, the Mexican army surrounded a group of students who were protesting against the Mexican government at the Plaza of Three Cultures and opened fire into the crowd. It is estimated that 267 people were killed.
‘Mandrake the Magician’ was a syndicated newspaper comic strip, created by Lee Falk in 1934. Mandrake was a magician whose work is based on an unusually fast hypnotic technique. When Mandrake ‘gestures hypnotically,’ his subjects see illusions, and he used this technique in his battles with a variety of gangsters, mad scientists, extraterrestrials and characters from other dimensions.
In the same way the Olympics Games are often an attempt to cover social problems, the artist uses black and white comic pages copies to cover the gallery, to cancel its space, and, like a magician, make it disappear. The pages are copied from Mandrake the Magician issue, edited on 12 October 1968, the date which marks the start of the Mexican Olympic Games in that year. Pressing his palms against the inner side of the copies turns the installation into a spatial political metaphor.
Martin Soto Climent lives and works in Mexico City.
Recent and upcoming solo presentations include ‘Impulsive Chorus’, X Initiative, New York, ‘Laberintome’, T293, Naples, ‘The Intimate Revolt’, Karma International, Zurich (2009), and ‘Art Positions’, Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami (with Broadway 1602, 2008). Group presentations include ‘The Reach of Realism’, Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, ‘100 Years (version #1, ps1, nov 2009)’, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, ‘Ordinary Revolutions’, Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, ‘Collection of...’, White Columns, New York (2009), ‘The Office’, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York (2007) and ‘Keep passing the open windows or happiness’, Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne (2006).
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