Zona Maco, Mexico City

09 Feb 2022 - 13 Feb 2022

For Zona Maco 2022 Dürst Britt & Mayhew is proud to present a duo exhibition by Paul Beumer (NL) and Alejandra Venegas (MX). Both artists share a fascination for nature and landscape, which for this occasion results in works made from kimono linings and wood.

Paul Beumer is particularly interested in researching the history and usage of fabrics and fibres. He thereto travels to far-flung places like China, Japan, Nigeria, Madeira and Malaysia. For a new series of works he researched and worked with kimonos, the traditional dress of Japan. These garments are still worn in formal ceremonies such as weddings, graduations and funerals: life events where an important transformation is celebrated. However, Beumer did not focus his attention on the decorative, elaborate and symbolic designs on the outside, but instead looked inside at the humble linings, which sometimes happen to have a monochrome strip along the borders.  He collects these to create assemblages that continue his interest in the composition of a landscape, but which at the same time show beautiful parts of a garment that are normally hidden from view and only known to the owner, who wears the soft textile close to the skin. The works therefore not only reference a natural landscape but also the sensual lines of a bodily landscape. As the kimonos have been used and worn before, the works also interweave many unknown personal histories, creating both a choir of colours and of voices.

Alejandra Venegas is a contemporary painter who uses an unusual surface to paint on, namely carved wood. She hand carves landscape scenes from various sorts of wood native to Mexico, after which she colours them with gouache or oil. Uniting the natural, warm tones of the wood with stridently bright shades is a contrast she actively seeks for. Incorporating the natural irregularities of the wood makes it much more than just a panel to paint on and gives the work a definite sculptural character. For Venegas, these works have therefore become a meeting place between painting, sculpture and drawing. 

In the same vein as Paul Beumer, Venegas’ interest lies in an intercultural search for motifs, patterns and symbols, which seem to have a universal meaning. Since her childhood, she has focused her gaze on Asian art, Japanese woodblock prints, Tibetan Buddhist painting, traditional African woodcarving and Egyptian hieroglyphs among many other interests. Her imagery stems from her memories and from closely observing her immediate natural surroundings, being her garden and the mountain close to her house, as well as various other territories. Her works hover between the figurative and the abstract, the real and the surreal. They have firm roots in Mexico, but they speak of a shared human experience and language.

Paul Beumer (1982, The Netherlands) received his BFA from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague after which he completed a two-year residency at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam. Recent solo and duo exhibitions include ‘Frequently the woods are pink’ at Dürst Britt & Mayhew, ‘CONDO Mexico City’ at Proyecto Paralelo in Mexico City, ‘Paul Beumer & Willem Hussem’ at Museum Jan Cunen in Oss, ’New Seeds’ at 16by16 in Lagos, Nigeria, ’He wanted kisses, but all he got was analytical anecdotes and philosophic epigrams’ at Venue in Taipei, Taiwan, ‘Paint Wide Mouth White’ at Qingyun International Art Centre in Beijing, China. He participated in major group exhibitions at the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden, Museum Het Valkhof in Nijmegen, Museum Kranenburgh in Bergen, Museum De Paviljoens in Almere and the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, The Netherlands. Work by Beumer is held in private and public collections, including the AKZO Nobel Art Foundation, Amsterdam; The Academic Medical Centre Art Collection, Amsterdam; the Collection of the District Court of Law, Amsterdam; the Rattan Chadha Collection, Voorschoten, Netherlands. For the past four years Beumer has been living and working in China, Japan, Taiwan and Malaysia.

Alejandra Venegas (1986, Mexico) studied Visual and Plastic Arts at La Esmeralda in Mexico City. Recent solo and duo exhibitions include ‘Frequently the woods are pink’ with Paul Beumer at Dürst Britt & Mayhew, ‘Timicho’ at Dürst Britt & Mayhew, ‘Cavar estanques y amontonar montañas’ at Casa Santa Maria de Fundación Casa Wabi, and ‘Hacer una Isla’ with Anabel Juárez at BWSMX Gallery, Ruberta Projects in Los Angeles. Recent group exhibitions include ‘Bailando en la Oscuridad’ at Galeria Karen Huber in Mexico City, ‘Luego, la forma’ at Galeria GAM in Mexico City, ‘Quality Time’ at Proxyco Gallery in New York, ‘Fuera de los muros entre los cuerpo’ at Casa de la Cultura San Rafael in Mexico City, and ‘Courage! Near infra red’ curated by Abraham Cruzvillegas at Galeria Rinomina in Paris. In 2018 Venegas was a resident artist at Casa Wabi in Oaxaca. In 2014 she was selected for the XVI Biennial Rufino Tamayo and in 2016 for the Biennial UNAM of Visual Arts. In 2013 and 2015 she received the FONCA Jóvenes Creadores scholarship. Work by Venegas is held in private and public collections, including the AKZO Nobel Art Foundation in Amsterdam and the Roche Art Collection in Basel. Venegas lives and works in Mexico City.


Click to read ‘Long-distance calls’, a specially commissioned essay by Ana Castella.