(Israel Meza Moreno) known as Moris: Hermoso Paisaje series
MCASD, on view thru November 27th
Article by Cathy Breslaw
Mexico City artist Israel Meza Moreno – otherwise known as Moris, created Hermoso Paisaje, an installation in the center lobby of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Downtown San Diego. An unfamiliar artistic
eye may initially react to Moris’s art with the question: what are all these used taped and flattened cardboard boxes, sand, old stacked newspapers, rocks, and drawings on thinly painted hanging tarps doing in the center of a museum space? Moris presents us with a replica of common encampments found throughout Mexico City, highlighting the urban poverty of many of its residents. Of course, the items in the installation are used by these residents to provide shelter and safety, creating make-shift boundaries to protect themselves from possible crime and inclement weather. Moris’s selected materials are not in any way different than the ‘real’ world, but actual items typically used by the poor. The use of the Mexican flag provides the country’s location for Moris‘s ‘urban home’, but could easily be a stand-in for many urban areas of U.S. cities, where homeless people abound. By the change of context, moving these enclosures to the stark and meticulously managed rooms of a museum or gallery, the issues of poverty and homelessness can be scrutinized, studied and focused upon. What is missing, however, are the actual people who inhabit these spaces on a daily basis. This disparity emphasizes the differences between the street world and the art world – one is merely a diorama of reality while the other describing a truly devastating life. Perhaps Moris’s constructions can someday accomplish more than a demonstration of the ills of street life and can become a catalyst for social change.