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Wallflowers, 2003

Handmade plaster filigree based on Colonial decoration in Mexican homes (silicon molds made from wood filigree

purchased at Home Mart, Mexico City)

Dimensions variable

Exhibition: Ex-Teresa Arte Alternativo, Mexico City

 

Interactive element: Bins of plaster filigree are in the exhibition space so people can take pieces from them and add to the installation on the floor; people are also welcome to take a piece of filigree home with them

 

Many colonial houses in Mexico City have original fixtures, including floral cornices at ceiling level. Nowadays, rather than having craftsmen restore decorative cornices and wainscoting, many simply replace them with wooden filigree they affix to the wall and paint to blend in. Home Depot in Mexico City sells wooden filigree in dozens of designs. I bought all twenty-two designs, made silicon moulds, purchased plaster and began to fabricate “reproductions” of flowers and leaves. In spending months on fabrication of the pieces, I became a factory worker on a production line. The work bloomed but due to the delicacy of plaster, many pieces broke. The crumbling pieces were a metaphor for the temporality of history, and the limited life span of flowers. Oscar Wilde, in his 1882 essay “House Decoration” wrote that “if you go into a house where everything is course, you find things chipped and broken and unsightly. … [but] If everything is dainty and delicate, gentleness and refinement of manner are unconsciously acquired.”