I am a ‘diaspora’ Latinx. Hola. It means everyone back home thinks I am basic (2023) is a live performance with a black piñata filled with institutional confetti, teasing out a state of fall. Every time the devilish performer hits the piñata, it responds with a noise that resembles a grunt to create the illusion that the object is suffering. This action parodies the diasporic trope of evoking childhood memories, by revising this Mexican tradition to evoke a sadistic scene, amplifying the darker connotations of this festive ritual. For its first presentation, and in line with this satirical commentary, Ramírez filled the piñata with institutional confetti made out of the book A Short Ride in a Fast Machine: Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces: 1985 - 2005, shredded with the help of staff. This gesture is a pun on the title of the book, for the piñata was a rapid vessel for its torn pages, that existed for only a short period of time. Since confetti is a celebratory material but requires the shredding of paper for its making, it invites complex interpretations.
Ramírez' physicality references movements from the cocaine fuelled performances of Paco Stanley and Mario Bezares screened on Mexican TV in the 90s, which ended after a cartel shot the former. The artist incorporates this cultural reference for its qualities as an archetypical 'fall' story arch, that mimics the speedy rise and fall of the black piñata. As well as a sober reminder of the sinister depth of humour. The performer’s outfit is a rendition to Constantine’s (2005) depiction of the devil as a party goer and casino player stained with a black substance. This representation belongs to a wider shift towards psychological, rather than morphological, imaginings of Satan in visual culture. The object was handmade to be broken, offering an existential gesture. Aligned with Ramírez’ wider project, the piñata established intricate relationships with its context.
Piñata fabricated by Zamara Zamara and sound by Bonnie Cummings. Funded by Multicultural Arts Victoria through their Diaspora Commissions and City of Melbourne.