M E R C E D E S  G E R T Z

From the introduction to You Can Make More Damage with Lips, than with Teeth
My interest in image as narrative began many years ago, I was taken by Manga recently and its ability to be the carrier of deep emotion. Japanese Manga, as an art form and medium, embodied by this relationship very clearly for me. I was overcome by its raw emotional power, primarily because graphic symbols were more often used as a means of communication than descriptions with words. The Little Red Riding Hood intriguingly contrasts with its oral origins, of which can be traced back as far as 2,000 years. In earlier versions, The Little Red Riding Hood was not originally meant for children, as it included exhibitionism, seduction, deception and cannibalism.

I chose to weave this tale with the Japanese practice of Kinbaku, which in its beginnings was an ancient practice of punishment perfected by the military for arrest and control, and was later elevated to its art form in Hojojutsu. In contemporary photography, the artist Araki has portrayed this type of art, which blurs the line between innocence and perversion. With these modern references in mind, I believe that Kinbaku relates to this very old story of The Little Red Riding Hood, and it does so in the context of a morally ambiguous society that is very much alive today, and spans many cultures. It is in this light that we still ask ourselves: Who is the victim and who is the predator?

Mercedes Gertz was born in Mexico City and works from studio residences in Mexico City, Los Angeles, and Switzerland. In 1990, she received her Bachelor’s degree from Parson’s School of Design in New York. In 1993, she co-founded with Gabriela Serna “Aprendiendo a través del Arte” (“Learning Through Arts”), a children’s art education program sponsored by the Guggenheim Museum in Mexico City.  In 1997, Mercedes exhibited her Alicias collection in Mexico City. In 1998, she was awarded the recognized Fonca scholarship. She obtained her Masters of Fine Arts Degree in 2001 from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. From 2001 to 2005 she was the Chief Curator of the galleries of the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles, organizing major traveling exhibitions of emerging and established international artists. At the Mexican Consulate she designed and coordinated free arts workshops for local community children. Her graphic work is in the collection of the Museum Luis Cuevas, Mexico City, and her paintings, conceptual installations and graphic art have been exhibited throughout Mexico, the United States and Europe.