“An unwinding spool of obscure angles, a glass of tea, an opened
journal, and a round metal table balanced with an empty matchbook. Cafés. Le Rouquet in Paris, Café Josephinum in Vienna, Bluebird
Coffeeshop in Amsterdam, Ice Café in Sydney, Café Aquí in Tucson, Wow Café at Point Loma, Caffe Trieste in North Beach, Caffè del Professore in Naples, Café Uroxen in Uppsala, Lula Cafe in Logan Square, Lion Cafe in Shibuya, and Café Zoo in the Berlin train station.” – Patti Smith, “M Train” , 2015.
Images courtesy of kurimanzutto and the artist
For its seventh edition, the public art project Sonora 128 presents Patti Smith. A poet, artist, and performer, Smith returns to Mexico City with the Café La Habana Sessions. Inspired by the idea that a café is not a place, but a state of mind, Smith continues her reflection on the act of artistic creation and the alchemy that unites artists together across time and space. Referring to a brotherhood of mental bonds that keeps ideas alive, Patti Smith salutes the force of the individual and celebrates the collective power of the people.
The Café La Habana Sessions is a series of works and performances organized throughout several locations in Mexico City from September 1st to November 31st, 2017. The title of the project comes from Café La Habana in Mexico City’s Colonia Juárez. A famed coffeehouse established in 1954, its Formica tabletops bore witness to writers and revolutionaries such as Roberto Bolaño, Octavio Paz, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. Interweaving history by drawing upon a personal canon, Smith will exhibit a group of photographs throughout the café, evoking a journey across the landscape of the mind, as a detective of artistic heritage.
Simultaneously, Patti Smith will debut a billboard for Sonora 128 in Colonia Condesa, Mexico City. Presenting a lyrical photographic poem, stamped by the commanding refrain: stand as an individual / unite as a people, Smith´s billboard takes the format of an interactive work pointing to the action of individuals and the personal mental space where imaginative ideas are grown. From the outset, viewers will be able to call the Café La Habana hotline number, as advertised on the bottom of the billboard, to hear a personal Café La Habana Session from Smith, available 24/7.
stand as an individual / unite as a people
Finally, Smith will create a Café La Habana Session in the form of a poetry reading and public performance with her longtime collaborator Lenny Kaye at the Casa del Lago in Chapultepec Park on Saturday, September 2nd at 1 pm. In 2012, Patti Smith composed Hecatomb, a 100 line poem in remembrance of Roberto Bolaño and his masterpiece 2666. The inspiration for Smith’s poem is drawn from the mention of a ritual slaughter of hundred oxen in Bolaño’s Amulet. For the first time since its composition, Smith will read this poem in public along with works that speak to the potential of art and literature to offer hope.
A café is not a place, but a state of mind.
about the artist
Patti Smith (born 1946, Chicago, USA) began as a visual artist and has been making drawings and taking photographs since the late 1960s. In recent years, her practice has expanded to include installation, such as Camera Solo, a survey of her photographs, organized by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (201 1), which travelled to Detroit Institute of Arts (2012) and the Art Gallery of Ontario (2013). In 2008, Smith was the subject of Patti Smith Land 250 at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, and Written Portrait – Patti Smith at Artium Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. Strange Messenger: The Work of Patti Smith, a three hundred-work retrospective, was organized by The Andy Warhol Museum in 2002 and traveled to numerous venues including the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, and the Museum Boijsman Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Her work has also been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum Eki, Kyoto; Haus der Kunst, Munich; Triennale di Milano, Milan; Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels and the Pompidou Center in Paris.
Just Kids, a memoir of Smith’s relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe during the late sixties and seventies in New York, won her the 2010 National Book Award. Her 1975 album Horses, established her as one of most original and important musicians of her generation and has been followed by ten studio albums, including Radio Ethiopia; Easter; Dream of Life; Gone Again, Trampin’, and Banga, her latest. She continues to perform throughout the world and in 2007 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In July of 2005, she was presented with the prestigious insignia of Commander of the Order of the Arts and Letters, France’s highest cultural honor.
Roberto Bolaño’s Chair 1, 2010, Blanes, Spain, 2010
Gelatin silver print
25.4 x 20.3 cm. (10 x 8 in.)
37.2 x 29.5 x 3 cm. (14.65 x 11.61 x 1.18 in.) framed