Underlay Overlay was commissioned by Museo Maxxi and Alcantara as part of the exhibition LOCAL ICONS Urban landscapes North/South. The show, curated by Giulio Cappellini and Domitilla Dardi, invited designers from eight different cities to interpret urban environments through the use of Alcantara.
In Underlay Overlay, Ovalle makes reference to Mexico City’s eclectic nature, as particularly seen in the historical centre, where modern development, historic memory and popular culture coexist and confront each other every day creating a vibrant and complex blend.
The installation combines different textures encountered in the city centre represented in overlapping layers of Alcantara. The geometric patterns in the perforated layers draw on the fragmented ruins of pre-Columbine nested temples, which are only present nowadays as ruins and ideal reconstructions of the Aztec city. The intricate perforations also echo the traditional ‘papel picado’, a colourful die-cut paper that is used in festivities to decrotate the streets.
Layer after layer, as she draws on the historic memory and popular culture, the designer celebrates today the city’s most authentic genius loci.
Photography: © Alcantara