The images of La Apestosa, taken between 2002 and 2004, make up a photographic essay that documents the atmosphere of a brewery located in the center of Mexico City. Steeped in sweat, urine, alcohol and sex, La Apestosa, now extinct, was distinguished by being a dark and smelly place, where men and women danced, drank, staggered and instinctively surrendered to each other, in an abrupt exchange of solitudes.
La Apestosa Original Text (2004):
I stay at the bar, next to two other guys alone, unknown. From afar I greet Nora and the Chihuahua. Eva comes down from the dark floor upstairs, followed by an elderly man. Nora sees her on the steps and says, "Hey Eva, did you give him two?" - Eva jokes and answers that no, four, leaves her purse on a table and goes to the toilets, the man washes his hands, she returns and rinses her mouth (the oral caresses to which Eva deserves her fame are well known). Alcohol and sex. Things here could be summed up in those two words.
And what brings me here, to this little sanctuary of men and women fanatical of drunkenness and lust. Why walk to La Apestosa and not anywhere else. There is no answer, and then I drink, I start to feel drunk, but still not enough to lose the fear of taking out the camera and approaching people. I order more beer. And there is another question, perhaps an answer. It will be that I have come to discover myself adept at their same religion, their same idols: alcohol and sex. A bottle reaches my hand from behind the bar and the question scares me. Nora comes over to remind me that she wants me to portray her naked. On my own, I remind her that it is already a fact, that we had a date set. One more drink and I go to the bathroom, I cross the dark corridor that leads to the toilets, I reach the exact point from which this fetid breath emerges that permeates and gives its name to the place. I cover my nose and mouth with one hand, and despite my disgust, I am moved to hear all the hustle and bustle behind me, men and women turned mad who dance, shout, drink, stagger and surrender to each other, in a fair exchange of solitude that makes the dark and smelly place go unnoticed.
Its official name is “Salón Orizaba” and it is perhaps the most unique brewery in the entire Historic Center of Mexico City, to find it you can ask for “La Apestosa”, a nickname that the place has literally adopted and that it proudly keeps up to the smallest detail.
La Apestosa is a meeting place for alcoholics and prostitutes. The photographic essay shows scenes that document the relationship between them and the general atmosphere of the place. A dark place where alcohol and sex reign.
About Jose Luis
Cd. de México, 06 de diciembre de 1973
Estudios de Posgrado, Visualización Creativa, Universidad de la Comunicación, Mexico, 2000. Programa Integral: Documento y Ficción, Centro de la Imagen, 2002.
Estudios de cine: Taller Cinematográfico de Mantarraya, 1era generación, 2015.
Photographer / visual artist. He is dedicated to developing projects that are based on a documentary methodology, but conceived with absolute freedom, both in their production and in their narrative approaches. His images are nourished by personal reflections, daily observation, research and other artistic disciplines. In 2009, he entered the National System of Creators. In 2017, the FotoMéxico Festival dedicated a solo exhibition to him at the Centro de la Imagen during the FotoMéxico Festival. Likewise, the Musée du quai Branly, in Paris, granted him a production residency in Japan during 2018. His first book 'New Era' was published in 2016 by Editorial RM, and 'On the resistance of bodies', his second publication (2018) was co-edited by the publishers Chaco (Argentina) and Cabeza de Chorlito (Spain). He is the founder of the Gymnasium of Art and Culture and CAMPO, platforms dedicated to education in photography and visual arts in Mexico and Latin America.
Awards / Scholarships / Recognitions (selection)
Photographic residency in Japan, granted by Musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, Paris, Fr (2017-18). On the 2019 Book Awards list, Les Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles 2019, France.
In the list of the best photography books 2018, Dec. 2018, Babelia Supplement from El País, Spain. Grant from the National System of Art Creators, issues 2009, 2013, 2017, CONACULTA.
Bancomer, 2015 Arts Grant, for the publication of the book ‘New Era’ / Editorial RM
1st Place / Prize for Contemporary Mexican Photography, FUMCA, Coahuila, Mexico.
Residence in Bogotá, Colombia, FONCA - Ministry of Culture of Colombia
Young Creators Grant, FONCA 2007.
2004 City of Gijón International Photojournalism Award, Spain.
Artistic Residence, Image du Pole Gallery - Lumen Collectif, 2004, Orléans, France,
Individual exhibitions (selection)
On the Resistance of Bodies, Gallery G, September - 2019, Hiroshima, Japan.
Two essays / Image Center, FotoMéxico Festival, October 2017- March 2018
On the resistance of bodies / Paseo Montejo, Mérida Foto Fest, November 2018 - December 2018 Polvo / Almanaque Galería, Mexico City, October 2017 - November 2017.
ArtexArte Gallery, The average man / Tales of desolation, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jul-Sep 2016. Terrena, We made for love association Gallery, Torino, Italy, 2013.
Mexico fête ses mortes, projection, Festival de Cinema de Rennes ‘Traveling Mexico’, Rennes, Fr. 2011.
17 September 2021 at 20h
17 October 2021
Carrer Major, 40
Tuesday-Friday 10:00–13:00, 18:00–21:00