Are we desensitized? Have all the terrorist, war and drug related movies, in addition to daily news, made us immune to what happens around us, but the real issues and tragedies are not close enough to us to make us react or change? Is the “War on Terror” a term only applied to events as catastrophic as 9/11? Should a country be celebrating its bicentennial anniversary when its residents are constantly under terrorist attacks, preventing individuals from experiencing freedom in their daily lives? Is it normal to have an average of 10 people, including pregnant women and children, executed everyday in Ciudad Juarez alone?

Reflecting on gradual changes in Mexico’s socio-environment and the country’s struggle to deal with them, Garcia Urrutia is comparing these current issues to a tsunami, in part because like a tsunami this phenomena is an epic catastrophic event, a welling up of emotion, hopefully finally reaching a culmination of awareness and awakening.

In the installation piece titled The Mexican Tsunami, Hugo G. Urrutia, intends to bring awareness of a now immune, desensitized, and in some cases defeated community, that is numbed by an ongoing wave of violence. The metaphoric “Tsunami” is presently embodied in an overflow of crime, drugs, economic disparity, and an overall sense of devastation in most of the population.  Urrutia’s observation over the past years is derived from his experience of being a transplant from his hometown Ciudad Juarez, on the U.S. border to El Paso.

By definition, Tsunamis have proven to represent a significant hazard around the globe. México is no exception, because there is firm evidence of the effects of past large tsunamis. Information, and knowledge of faulting characteristics along the Mexican zone, leads to a clear differentiation of two zones of potential tsunami hazard: locally generated tsunamis, in the subsidence region, and remotely generated tsunamis north of this zone. Based on this zonation, two types of tsunami warning systems are proposed: real-time for the southern zone, and delayed-time for the northern.. Some of these sites represent important socioeconomic resources for Mexico, and have therefore been chosen for a vulnerability assessment and microzonation risk analysis…

On July 28, 2010, Urrutia and his family tragically became a victim of The Mexican Tsunami.  Hugo’s worst nightmare was realized when he received the phone call from his sister in Ciudad Juarez, informing him that their oldest brother Fernando had been shot by an unknown subject. Fernando, parent of three, did not make it. As they say “He was in the wrong place, at the wrong time”.

Are we currently in the wrong place? Is this the right time? Should we be running or hiding from The Mexican Tsunami, or changing our ways of life to try to prevent it?


Presented at The McKinney Avenue Contemporary - Dallas, Texas
May 21 - June 11, 2011

Reflecting on the changes of Mexico’s socio-environment and country’s struggle to deal with them, Hugo G. Urrutia is exposing and presenting a reality that is far from reaching a solution. His latest site-specific installation, titled Making A Killing, attempts to engage the viewer in an overt way, making reference to the amount of people that have literally have been persuaded or coursed into a deadly business – drugs, kidnaps, extortions, theft, and killing.

Urrutia, intends to engage the viewer with the dilemma of seeing the installation as an abstract sculptural object with a unique texture, size and position and transformed from tragedy into beauty. The texture of this bullet perforated surface should remind the viewer of how close we are from the epicenter of violence and even if we walk outside this cube, which incases the “violence”, the walls that are incasing these bullets are too thin and at some point will let the bullets fly out.

The juxtaposition of an 8x8 feet cube will create narrow alleys in the gallery space in which the viewer will have the option of walking through, experiencing close proximity to the bullet holes.

Violence in Mexico has always been present, specially in drug related events, and after president of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, declared war against organized crime, the country has faced an measurable wave of violence. The money made from these organizations is so much, that it has corrupted, governments, authority, military and the consequences of killing have become a lucrative business on its own. They are very affordable and the stakes are too high to change and bring things back to normal.