The title of this installation, ‘Flames Maquiladora’ (2003), refers to the countless factories and assembly centres known as maquiladoras, which sprang up on the US-Mexican border in the 1990s. They are small workplaces where low-paid workers make consumer products for the American market. With the installation in this space, the Mexican artist Carlos Amorales (Mexico City 1970), challenged the visitor to participate in the production of wrestling shoes that were later exhibited as works of art. Rather than passively viewing art, the public was literally put to work, transforming the gallery into a workspace.
‘Flames Maquiladora’ was originally exhibited in the Dutch pavilion during the Venice Biennale in 2003. Rein Wolfs, the curator of the Dutch submission, selected five artists whose work focuses on public participation. Through the exhibition, entitled ‘We Are The World’, he wanted to show that multiculturalism is not a problem in art. Of the five selected artists, three were not from the Netherlands. This message is still relevant ten years later.