MITLA was the progression from my MA dissertation at the RCA, ‘Clay & Suicide’, in which I narrate the process of loss at history, art and literature, informed by a personal experience.

This exhibition was an opportunity to speak about this loss and place it in another context in life. I explored what happens after a loss, and how public rituals help to create consciousness of our existence.

This text was displayed at the entrance of the gallery during the exhibition:

‘I was in the middle of the earth. I was scared. I was scared of him and the image he engraved inside of me. I was alone. I was being eaten by Death. Everything was a theater. Suddenly a door was open, he was there staring at me and he asked, ‘what are you doing?’ and he approached me in a singular playful movement. He grabbed my hand and after that he hugged me, and now we are out of the dark room. I walk the dogs. They doesn’t know but I was hunting with them, I was being another dog. I walked on green grass, I stayed long hours watching the hills, running next to the dog pretending we were forgotten in the middle of the woods. We were surviving. And then, the idea of a space of death. Not just a room. A big massive forest, a city, a party, who cares? And inside it, it’s not just me. And they are also crossing, mourning, and their tears transform into our tears, their laughs into our laughs and then I realised who I was in the middle of the masses. So I thought about them and after looking at one another I realised we were in Mitla’


 
La Muerte podría encontrarte donde sea, incluso aquí, sentada   61.5 cm x19.5 cm x 17 cm  Hand-sculpted porcelain.  Mourning, probably it is like love: you wait, you eat, you talk, you watch, you scream and you repeat actions like that, in multiple ways, and with the passing of the time you get used to the emotions of the other. That is not so far from the activities we do in our life. The Death stops being scary because it is seen quite often.

La Muerte podría encontrarte donde sea, incluso aquí, sentada

61.5 cm x19.5 cm x 17 cm

Hand-sculpted porcelain.

Mourning, probably it is like love: you wait, you eat, you talk, you watch, you scream and you repeat actions like that, in multiple ways, and with the passing of the time you get used to the emotions of the other. That is not so far from the activities we do in our life. The Death stops being scary because it is seen quite often.


 
El padre, el hijo y el espíritu santo   10 cm x 12 cm x 19 cm, 9.5 cm x 12.5 cm x 17.5 cm and 10 cm x 18.5 cm x13 cm  Hand-sculpted porcelain.  When I was a child, my father uses to take me to the market where all the stalls were selling preparations for the Day of the Death. In Mexico, all the sugar skulls are piled up, one on top of another, and some of them have the name of a dead person written on them. My dad said, ‘Pick up the one with your name’. The repetition of these skulls is not just a technical challenge with porcelain, it is also the challenge of the repetition of the self. It is curious though, it takes me more time to sculpt skulls than entire bodies.

El padre, el hijo y el espíritu santo

10 cm x 12 cm x 19 cm, 9.5 cm x 12.5 cm x 17.5 cm and 10 cm x 18.5 cm x13 cm

Hand-sculpted porcelain.

When I was a child, my father uses to take me to the market where all the stalls were selling preparations for the Day of the Death. In Mexico, all the sugar skulls are piled up, one on top of another, and some of them have the name of a dead person written on them. My dad said, ‘Pick up the one with your name’. The repetition of these skulls is not just a technical challenge with porcelain, it is also the challenge of the repetition of the self. It is curious though, it takes me more time to sculpt skulls than entire bodies.


 
MITLA | Fernanda Cortes
 
No es macabro   48 cm x 18 cm x 21 cm  Hand-sculpted porcelain and purple glaze.  In Mexico, it is a tradition to decorate tombs and altars with sugar skulls. I always ate them after the ceremony for the Day of the Death. In eyes of foreigners our acts may look macabre, but for a culture that lives with death, it is just another normal habit.

No es macabro

48 cm x 18 cm x 21 cm

Hand-sculpted porcelain and purple glaze.

In Mexico, it is a tradition to decorate tombs and altars with sugar skulls. I always ate them after the ceremony for the Day of the Death. In eyes of foreigners our acts may look macabre, but for a culture that lives with death, it is just another normal habit.