The work of Pablo Vargas Lugo is unapologetically intellectual yet imaginatively playful. His latest solo exhibition, “Micromegas,” is no departure from the artist’s methodology, which constructs inventive narratives through illusion and perception.
Micromégas is the protagonist of a 1752 short story of the same name by Voltaire. The character is banished from his home on the star of Sirius. Together with a colleague from Saturn, he visits the planet Earth, where they engage with a group of philosophers who are convinced that the universe was created specifically for mankind on earth.
This story is a metaphor for Vargas Lugo’s body of work in the exhibition. Here the artist weaves micro-universes into the narratives of mega-universes, both real and fabricated, and which co-exist in a quiet and poetic tension. Eclipses for Chapultepec, 2013, specifically embodies these levels of intellectual play that the artist employs with perfectly choreographed moments of illusion versus reality. The piece is a video installation of a previously recorded performance in which a group of students animated the six eclipses visible from the National Auditorium between the years 2014 to 3000 in Mexico City. The choreography is accompanied by a thirteen-piece orchestra playing arrangements of Johannes Brahms’s fourth symphony. The installation creates moments that are visible to the human eye; however, the eclipses will occur over the course of one thousand years. Thus, anyone present at “Micromegas” will not live long enough to see every one of the eclipses with their own eyes. Eclipses for Chapultepec plays with the definition of reality, creating and recreating real yet fictitious moments at the same time.
The entire exhibition is full of these games. Vargas Lugo constructs and deconstructs narratives on both macro and micro levels, alternating between real and fabricated. The artist plays with perception in order to slowly break it apart and complicate it further.