Plotting an archive






During a lecture that took place at the Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the death of Mexico’s video art pioneer, I met again with her sister Kitzia who mentioned she did not know what to do with the video artist’s papers and photographs that time was starting to deteriorate.

After thinking about it, I asked her to donate them to me so we could begin creating an archive independently. Although just as twenty years earlier when I began rescuing these works on video I did not know how to classify all this material, I was lucky to find Fernando Osorio, an extraordinary conservator.

Fernando’s specific suggestions allowed me to find a good solution. Almost a year after I received Pola’s documents and photographs, I obtained a grant from the FONCA that allowed me to classify and conserve the archive, which is fortunately being worked on by the Centro de Documentación Arkheia from Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) where it will remain for the public to consult.

A year of work, a well-integrated team and the support of the FONCA, Fundación Bancomer, the MUAC and TV UNAM were fundamental to reconstruct Pola as a worker, a full time persistent and obstinate artist, who was able to take her art work abroad even though her work was not recognized in Mexico “a country without a legitimating network” (paraphrasing Juan José Díaz Infante).

I must say that working in this archive has been a real challenge, not only because of technical matters which implied the stabilization and conservation of documents and photographs (approximately 3,000 all together) but because the cataloguing works and the huge temptation to spend long hours reading each of Pola’s notebooks and the letters which show that apart from being a full time artist she was a persistent organizer.

However, the work is done and this legacy is ready for researchers and students to consult it and to get to re-learn about the pioneer of video art, not only through what has been written about her, but through her own writing and the compilation of the texts on her work: Pola will no longer be a mystery or a myth in the internet: she is a lonely, self-managed, innovative artist, capable of inspiring different emotions in those who see her videos or want to follow the history of their creation through their documents.

The only thing left is to invite you to visit the Fund we have integrated (document and photograph archive, along with copies of the original videos) either by visiting this website or by making an appointment to visit the Centro de Documentación Arkheia at the MUAC. Visit Arkheia

Edna Torres-Ramos

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Paola Weiss workbook. Juny, 1983

"This project was funded by the Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes"
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