Reverencia (Reverence). Penachos Series is an installation composed of a traditional Mexican headdress, a choreography, an action recorded on video, and live activations that resignify a traditional dance called Danza de Los Quetzales.
Reverencia proposes a reinterpretation of the symbolic meaning of the movements of the Danza de Los Quetzales, as well as a translation of the symbolic elements of the “Penacho.”
After a collaboration with an artisan dedicated to making these garments, the artist decided to eliminate the bright colors and the festive movements of the dance to focus on the meaning of the duality of its symbolic terms. The result is a “Penacho” in black and white, and a new choreography concentrated in a pair of dancers and two movements: the reverence and the greeting to the four cardinal points. The reverence is the most significant movement of this dance when the dancers lean, they recognize themselves in their equality and celebrate the difference.
This dance is one of the few ceremonial dances that survived the evangelization crusade in Mesoamerica and is still danced in the Nahua-Totonaca region located between the Mexican states of Puebla and Veracruz. Although today it is rarely performed for the public, the religious prohibition did not deprive it of its ritual character.
In the pre-Hispanic cultures, colors have specific symbology, for this reason, the only tone that could not be omitted was the color red, which represents the blood and gives life to the “Penacho.”
This project also establishes a historical connection with how Mexican governments presented the image of Mexico in world fairs, constructing a national imaginary through the representation of traditional dances and “stylized” regional garments.
Reverencia was shown for the first time at The Armory Show’s 2019 Platform by curated by Sally Tallant, where the curatorial starting point was the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the New York World’s Fair of 1939.
This video is presented in the exhibition, El humo de tantas cosas juntas (The Smoke of So Many Things Together), a curatorial essay on a series of practices that take up the narratives of the indigenous past or that move pre-Hispanic iconography and traditional knowledge into the context of contemporary art.
El humo de tantas cosas juntas
Venue: Proyecto Siqueiros: La Tallera. Mexico City, Mexico
March 21 to May 25, 2020
More information: https://www.inba.gob.mx/actividad/8635/el-humo-de-tantas-cosas-juntas-