A brightly shining, two metres high golden plant with longish leaves rotates in the roof garden of the Rüdiger Schöttle Gallery. The autumnal sunlight reflects on its metallic surfaces and occasionally dazzles the viewer. "Acapulco Golden" is the title the artist Lorena Herrera Rashid has given her installation, a reference to the city of Acapulco in her native Mexico.
The title sounds exotic, not least because the city it refers to is a glamorous resort on the Pacific coast, where famous Hollywood stars once held wild parties and where, today, "Clavadistas" dive from La Quebrada's perilous cliffs into the waves far below before the eyes of the international jet set.
But "Acapulco Gold" is also the name of a cannabis plant from the region around Acapulco, and the botanists among our visitors will have long since recognized the metallic plant in the roof garden as such a plant. Thus it is that this work, brightly gleaming in the autumnal sunlight, also has its dark side: associations with gangster criminality and rich, unscrupulous drug barons are awakened, for Acapulco too is one of the theatres in the Mexican drug war.
And so Lorena Herrera Rashid's installation, beautifully worked in brass, permits two mutually contradicting interpretations: the plant as a luxurious icon of the hippy movement and the plant as an admonition of the serious political and social shortcomings in Mexico. The discrepancy between form and content, between the outward aesthetic appeal and the inward social criticism, could not be more striking. The viewer finds himself in a quandary: he wishes to marvel at something beautiful but sees nothing marvellous in the negative associations the work invokes – on the contrary. All that glitters is not gold.
Lorena Herrera Rashid, born in Mexico City in 1972, lives and works in Munich. She is studying sculpture under Professor Olaf Metzel at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich.
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