1968, Mexico City
Abraham Cruzvillegas's artistic process is deeply influenced by his surroundings. Rather than being defined by a particular medium, many of his projects are linked by the idea of autoconstrucción: a concept that draws from the ingenious, precarious and collaborative building tactics implemented by the people living in Colonia Ajusco, his childhood neighborhood in Mexico City. Cruzvillegas takes an approach based on inventive improvisation and instability, which presents change as a permanent state, arising from the chaotic and fragmentary nature of life. The evolving notion of autoconstrucción has in turn yielded explorations into similar concepts, such as autodestrucción and autoconfusión. These inquiries have led the artist not only to explore his own origins, but to collaborate with family and friends in a very personal form of research, resulting in a constant process of learning: about materials, landscape, people and himself.
Through his work in various media, including sculpture, painting, drawing, installation and video, Cruzvillegas reveals a close and constant engagement with the material world—immersing himself in the ongoing construction and transformation of personal and collective identities. His sculptures challenge prevailing conceptions of art making by using a wide range of collected objects, while his paintings and drawings are marked by a keen depiction of subjects with a strong sense of humor, instilled by his early training as a political cartoonist. Parallel to his artistic production, Cruzvillegas has cultivated writing as an investigative tool of self-analysis that merges history, criticism and fiction. His lyrics and texts about art, politics and culture have become a significant element of his practice.
Cruzvillegas studied Pedagogy from 1986 to 1990 at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico City, while simultaneously attending Gabriel Orozco’s workshop Taller de los viernes, together with Damián Ortega, Gabriel Kuri and Dr. Lakra. In 2012, he was the 5th winner of the Yanghyun Prize, and received the Prix Altadis d'arts plastiques in 2006.
Lives and works in Mexico City.
Past solo exhibitions include: éclat, Les Tanneries – Centre d’art contemporain, Amilly, France (2022); Agua Dulce, The Bass Museum of Art, Miami, FL (2020); Hi, how are you, Gonzo?, The Contemporary Austin, TX; Aspen Art Museum, CO (2019); Autorreconstrucción: Social Tissue, Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland (2018); The Water Trilogy 3: Autoconclusion: Ideologically Inconsistent Identity: Jetties, Gutters & Urinals, as part of Sensory Spaces 12, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2017); The Water Trilogy 2: Autodefensión Microtonal Obrera Campesina Estudiantil Metabolista Descalza, Ginza Maison Hermès Le Forum, Tokyo (2017); Autoconstriction approximante vibrante rétroflexe, Carré d'Art - Musée d'art contemporain de Nîmes, France (2016); Empty Lot, Tate Modern, London (2015); Autodestrucción7: Deshaciendo el nudo, Museo de Arte de Lima, Peru (2015); Abraham Cruzvillegas: Autoconstrucción, Museo Jumex, Mexico City and Museo Amparo, Puebla, Mexico (2014); Abraham Cruzvillegas: The Autoconstrucción Suites, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2014) and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (2013); Self Builders’ Groove. Final Project for DAAD Residency, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), Berlin (2011); Autoconstrucción: The Film, Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theatre (REDCAT), Los Angeles, CA (2009); The Magnificent Seven: Capp Street Project: Abraham Cruzvillegas, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, CA (2009); Autoconstrucción: The Soundtrack, CCA: Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow, Scotland (2008), among others.
Additionally, his work has been included in various group exhibitions: TODOS JUNTOS (All Together), kurimanzutto, New York (2022); Futuros Abundantes, C3A Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía, Spain (2022); Excepciones Normales: Arte Contemporáneo en México, Museo Jumex, Mexico City (2021); The Aerodrome, Ikon, Birmingham, England (2019); Abuso de las formas, Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City (2019); Artaud 1936, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2018); Dwelling Poetically: Mexico City, a case study, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), Melbourne (2018); Precariat’s Meeting, Ming Contemporary Art Museum (McaM), Shanghai, China (2017); The Revolution Will Not Be Gray, Aspen Art Museum, CO (2016); Atopía. Migración, Legado y Ausencia de Lugar, Museo de Arte de Zapopan (MAZ), Mexico (2014); México Inside Out: Themes in Art Since 1990, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX (2013); The Right to the City, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2013); It Is What It Is. Or Is It?, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, TX (2012); Blockbuster: Cinema for Exhibitions, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey (MARCO), Mexico (2011); Tate Modern Collection Displays, Tate Modern, London (2011); Paréntesis, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca (MACO), Mexico (2009); An Unruly History of the Readymade, Museo Jumex, Mexico City (2008); Unmonumental: The Object in the 21st Century, New Museum, New York, NY (2007), among others.
His work has been exhibited in various international biennials, including: Biennale d'Architecture d'Orléans, Frac Centre-Val de Loire, Orleans, France (2019); 21st Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2018); X Bienal de Nicaragua (2016); Sharjah Biennial 12, United Arab Emirates (2015); 12a Bienal de la Habana, Cuba (2015); 9th Shanghai Biennale, China (2012); dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012); 12. Istanbul Bienali, Turkey (2011); 6th SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul, South Korea (2010); 10a Bienal de la Habana (2009); 54th Venice Biennial (2003).