aXolotl’s Smile is an installation observing and reinterpreting axolotl iconography, more specifically, it underscores the manner in which the trope of axolotl anthropomorphism has been translated across different cultures in the fields of arts, literature and pop culture. Indeed, the axolotl is a larval salamander endemic to the lakes of Mexico and has generated a large genealogy of global objects centered on the theme of ‘crossing’.
The axolotl is evocative of such a concern given that it is an amphibian capable of inhabiting water and land as well as exhibiting neoteny (it reaches sexual maturity in a juvenile state), coupled with its association with Latin America and the colonial hybridity that follows suit.
aXolotl’s Smile posits that axolotl iconography continues this theme of border crossing by inhabiting global media in different forms and contexts that are in turn influenced and rendered by local sensibilities. More broadly, the work explores the manner in which the axolotl resembles the human figure – its anthropomorphic qualities, such as the shape of its head, hands and phallic body as well as the colour (s) of its skin.
The work is primarily video based, but following the logic of the axolotl it extends into different forms, including an animation, prints, canvas, and a light box vitrine.