El Universal 2013
spray paint on newspaper and printed matter:
cover: Silkscreen on Mohawk Vellum Black 216 g/m2
content: Offset Print on Mohawk Smooth Ultra White 118 g/m2
size: 148 x 210 mm / 14.73 x 21.08 cm / 5,8 x 8,3 in
format: A5
publisher: Espiral Gráfica, Mexico City
editors: Carla Acevedo-Yates
design: Luis A. Diaz Alejandro
collaborator: Isaac Torres
language: Spanish
number of pages: 64
print Run: 500

The installation is part of a broader investigation into the black market and its relationship with state politics, global finance and the impact these economic forces take on as art production.

El Universal 2013 takes its title from a conservative newspaper in Mexico that publishes local and international news on politics, culture, and the financial markets. The installation consists of newspapers pinned to the wall and blackened with spray paint. Placed alongside this work is an artist book filled with scans of flyers appearing throughout the public space—mainly phone booths in Mexico City—soliciting workers for an indeterminate line of informal labor. The Flyers have been arranged within the book in a gradual change between hues similar to a Pantone chart, shifting from warm colors to colder ones and back to black.

Here we see two seemingly distinct but interconnected economies collide, the official economy of financial markets and the informal economy of the black market, allegedly the second largest economy in the world, whose search for precarious labor is promoted clandestinely on the street. Although they are both ubiquitous and highly unregulated, one is legitimized by the state and the other is not. Placed in juxtaposition, financial markets are negated, while the visible spectrum of shadow economies are revealed.

A version of this text appeared in the exhibition catalog Turn on the bright lights curated by Carla Acevedo-Yates for the Hessel Museum of Art.


El Universal 2013/2014 
Installation at Hessel Museum of Art in New York, part of the exhibition "Turn on the bright lights" curated by Carla Acevedo-Yates.