An ambiguous sculptural artwork in the exhibition

Mario García Torres curates design exhibition in Mexico City house

Artist Mario García Torres has curated a new exhibition of ambiguous objects by designers including Hector Esrawe in a house in Mexico City.

The exhibition is presented by Masa gallery. Named The Last Tenant, it is showing at Palmas 1145, a small white house about which little historical information is known.

Small white Mexican house
Top: Collar de Oaxaca by Ana Pellicer. Above: Palmas 1145

"The house felt like a ruin," García Torres told Dezeen.

"Slightly off-time, but not abandoned. At the same time, it was like a clean slate, like a white page for things to happen on."

According to the artist, The Last Tenant's curation was led by the traditional Mexican dwelling. "All the details were sparked by the house itself. From there, the materials and references started to appear."

Brian Thoreen's untitled works are ambiguous
Designs by Brian Thoreen on show in the house

The exhibition is a compilation of works by various artists and designers which intends to explore the undefined boundaries between what constitutes an artwork, and what is functional design.

Designer Brian Thoreen's large Untitled Coffee Table made of hammered copper is displayed in an empty room alongside his matching Untitled Console and Untitled Screen.

Jose Dávila's designs are uncanny
Jose Dávila appropriates wooden furniture

Old furniture pieces by Mexican artist Jose Dávila are transformed into uncanny balancing sculptures.

A wooden chest by Dávila is perched on a slab of concrete next to the house's staircase, connected to a large rock positioned beneath it by a taut black ratchet strap.

A fractured wooden cupboard
An uncannily disjointed wooden cupboard

An old cupboard is fractured in two and rearranged to create a new, obscure form, while upstairs, a table is horizontally eye-bolted to the wall and fastened with another red ratchet strap that is coiled in a bundle on the wooden floor.

Elsewhere, earthy-toned jade and obsidian sculptures by Jorge Yázpik are dotted on plinths, resembling large abstract fists.

arthy-toned jade and obsidian sculptures by Jorge Yázpik
One of Jorge Yázpik's sculptures

Stainless steel chairs with eye-shaped backrests by Georgian design duo Rooms contrast with more sculptural seating by García Torres himself, made from Mexican marble from the Oaxaca and Puebla regions.

Stainless steel chairs by Georgian design duo Rooms
Chairs by Rooms

"There are many artworks that look like they could be utilitarian, and utilitarian objects that flirt more with the idea of the sculptural. I like this uncomfortable status, where one gets confused," explained García Torres.

Small alters by EWE, the studio founded by Hector Esrawe, also use local materials, while a cluster of chunky steel, brass and aluminium lamps by Esrawe entitled Solstice Lighting Fixtures glow in a corridor, like small extraterrestrial creatures.

The Marble is Mexican
A marble chair by Mario García Torres

This immersive experience is especially prominent in the house's bathroom, where the room lends itself to the artwork within it.

Complete with dark brown marble walls and pale green sanitary appliances, the bathroom houses a colourful painting by artist Milena Muzquiz.

The bathroom of the house
The white house's rooms become part of the exhibition

"I see The Last Tenant as an experimental show, a theatre piece, where the house is a stage, and each of the objects within it becomes a character," explained García Torres.

Mario García Torres is an artist from Monclova, Mexico, working across a variety of mediums. Masa gallery is a travelling gallery based in Mexico City.

Previous exhibitions in Mexico include a touring exhibition hosted within inflatable structures designed to look like massive beans by Norberto Miranda, and another show hosted by Masa gallery in Mexico City featuring objects such as a bulbous chandelier.

Photography is by Tom de Peyret.

The Last Tenant will run from 18 March – 9 May. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

More images

The Last Tenant by Masa gallery, curated by Mario García Torres
The Last Tenant by Masa gallery, curated by Mario García Torres
The Last Tenant by Masa gallery, curated by Mario García Torres
The Last Tenant by Masa gallery, curated by Mario García Torres
The Last Tenant by Masa gallery, curated by Mario García Torres
The Last Tenant by Masa gallery, curated by Mario García Torres
The Last Tenant by Masa gallery, curated by Mario García Torres
The Last Tenant by Masa gallery, curated by Mario García Torres
The Last Tenant by Masa gallery, curated by Mario García Torres
The Last Tenant by Masa gallery, curated by Mario García Torres
The Last Tenant by Masa gallery, curated by Mario García Torres
The Last Tenant by Masa gallery, curated by Mario García Torres
The Last Tenant by Masa gallery, curated by Mario García Torres
The Last Tenant by Masa gallery, curated by Mario García Torres
The Last Tenant by Masa gallery, curated by Mario García Torres