A medium better suited than assemblage to the representation of colonial violence, spiritual erasure and cultural survival would be hard to find. This is especially true when cardboard, knickknacks, concrete, drywall, beads, tassels and sawdust find themselves in the hands of Luis A. Sahagun, whose extensive solo exhibition, Both Eagle and Serpent, was cut short due to the pandemic. Altars large and small, mysterious ritual objects, and formidable statues of conquistadors and the Virgin of Guadalupe filled the ground floor of the Chicago Cultural Center, many bearing layers of material as tangled, lacerated and embellished as the history of the Spanish conquest of the Americas. Stoic amid the mostly cacophonic, colorful constructions is a series of reliefs made of gouged and carved blocks of densely layered cardboard. Minimally decorated with monochromatic stains or a glob of beads, they feel archeological, far older in reference than 1492 and its aftermath, harkening instead back to the millennia of complex indigenous cultures buried by European imperialism, unearthable only in fragments.
—Lori Waxman 2021-02-24 2:02 PM