“This is hot, humid, unpretty country, and for most travelers is little more than a place to change buses”
Istmo de Tehuantepec according to Lonely Planet guide
The narrowest point between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, the Istmo de Tehuantepec marks the geographic division of North and Central America. Relatively isolated even today, the Istmo culture is unique, particularly known for its matriarchal society. Its internal cultural heritage and development often stands in opposition to economic pressure from outside. The construction of a railway line in the 19th century, a highway built 10 years ago, and the still unrealised plan for a canal between the two oceans have left their marks not only in landscape but also in society. Some profiteers are moving against the local majority, who are frequently subject to changes forced by outside influences. Continuing protests and hopeless acceptance have been the result.
Studio Istmo is an exhibition by Marlene Hausegger and Hannes Zebedin who share their interest in this region. The artists show the results of their recent field-research in the region in combination with existing works from former residencies in Mexico City. Hausegger’s work focuses on the daily life of the Zapotec culture, especially its matriarchy, under changing social and economic situations. Zebedin’s project continues his research about special rural areas, comparing the Istmo de Tehuantepec with the transitional Alps-Adria-Region in Europe.
A key figure around which this research is based is Tina Modotti, who was born and raised in the Alps-Adria-Region, before she migrated to San Francisco and later on to Mexico. Her most political photography was produced in the Istmo region.
Marlene Hausegger’s drawings, interventions and sculptures incorporate references to architecture, feminism and the public space where she is particularly interested in the hidden limitations and restricted possibilities of social situations. Her work has been shown at: Aeromoto, Mexico City (2017), Kyoto Art Center, Japan (2016), Biennial Konjic, Bosnia and Herzegovina (2015), Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales, Havanna, Cuba (2015), Stedelijk Museum, s´Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands (2013), LENTOS, Linz (2010).
Hannes Zebedin’s practice explores political consciousness through the language of conceptual art and embraces a broad range of media including objects, installations, text works, performance and interventions in the public realm. Recent exhibitions include: Carico Massimo, Livorno, Italy (2017), New Center for Contemporary Art, Togliatti, Russia (2016) 2. Kyiv Biennale, Kiew, Ukraine (2015) Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong (2015), 21erHaus, Vienna (2015), Museum of Bat Yam, Israel (2013) Kunsthalle St. Gallen (2011) Caguas, Puerto Rico (2011), Secession, Vienna (2009).