Liquids and liquidity are the targets for Mexican artist Débora Delmar, self-branded as Débora Delmar Corp., in this exhibition—an addendum to her commercial juice-bar project at the Akademie der Künste for the Ninth Berlin Biennale. Riffing on the “Silicon Allee” start-up culture permeating the city, Delmar turns the gallery into fictitious corporate marketing offices for her lifestyle drink, Mint, by installing designer worktables where digital test prints for advertising images of the green juice are strewn about, while walls are decorated with three series of tie-dye paintings titled “Matcha,” “Detox,” and “Wheatgrass” (all works 2016)—made from their respective supplement powders. Synthetic bunches of leafy kale and lettuce are tucked into windowsills or beside vinyl roll-up wastebaskets, reflexively mocking their signification of freshness. But in case the simulated promise of a healthy environment inspires, an exercise ball awaits venturesome visitors.
“Mint,” however, doesn’t so much refer to the refreshing liquid’s ingredients, the chroma-key-green wall, or the tufts of plastic foliage sprouting from the midriffs of mannequin hip vases skid-marked with excess matcha, as it does to an acronym coined by economist Jim O’Neill for the emergent economies of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey. Like Delmar’s drink—subject to a limited shelf-life—these nations are in flux, with hungry corporations ready to consume or dispose of investments should they succeed or flounder on the global markets. Advertising on the side of a juice-stocked refrigerator called mint lifestyle (display) reads, “live more, live smart, live green, live mint,” promoting aspirations as shallow as the setting. If genuine health and wellness are the goal, take Delmar’s market mimicry as a warning not to get drowned by the temptation of a few green drinks.
First published on Artforum.com, June 24th, 2016.