Times are changing for the directors of Mexico, who this week held their last ever show in the Wharf Street gallery. The mood of the room, however, was not one of teary goodbyes. Buzzing with an impressive turnout, art fans of all ages enjoyed the space, the work and the beers. Since its creation three years ago, the Mexico programme has held various exhibitions on the top floor of Wharf Chambers, a really perfect space with bright white walls and lovely wooden beams overhead.
The exhibition displayed 33 pieces by Mexico’s members, as a sign of gratitude for their support. Each artist was required to produce a black and white A1 image, which, as explained to me by director Joanna Aldoori, served to unify the various members who otherwise work in very different ways. On an individual level, these guidelines may have limited the artists to an extent, leaving some of the works seeming flat. However, as a whole I think the exhibition really worked, and was perhaps most successful as a celebration of the space itself. The most enjoyable works brought in extra dimensions beyond the simple A1 print, for example, “YU CCAKNOT BEE SHOR SEOHMTHYMES OF AKNIGHTHING ENTITES MEAN”, which consisted of a series of images and symbols whose names linked together to form the above sentence. This natural human desire to crack the code meant the viewer was invited to engage with the piece in more depth than those that were just an image.
It seems a shame to let such a wonderful space go but I was assured that this was not the end for Mexico, who are leaving Wharf Street in order to have more time and money to focus on research and future exhibitions. Asking themselves back in 2011, “where is there really good art?”, the name Mexico was decided on, and their aim has been reflected in this no-nonsense approach. Although based in Leeds, the idea was originally to bring artists from outside of Leeds into it, and they will continue to show art both here and in other parts of the country. So if you missed the show this weekend, dry your tears and keep your eyes peeled for more Mexico in the future.