‘‘The church of Chamula offers its visitors no banks. Instead the oor is covered with hay, pine needles, owers and hundreds of thin candles. [...] The smell of resin, incense and paraf n is lingering through the air. Next to the Tzotzil who sit on the oor uttering prayings in their mother-tongue, the visitor is irritated by the presence of three things: running chickens, a reasonable amount of pox, a traditional sugarcane liquor, Coca Cola and a lot of people burping...’’
Testimony of a visitor, Church of Cahmula, Mexico 2016
Looking at a contemporary Mexican ritual in which Coca Cola is offered alongside prayers and sacri ced chickens in order to appeal for the salvation of seriously ill relatives, Always the Real Thing gathers work by six international artists whose practices touch on ideas of tradition and authenticity. In the show, which takes its title from one of the most well- known Coca Cola advertising slogans, the ceremonial use of food is re-contextualised with a humorous twist, and mysticism and popular culture are mixed to produce a combination of the sacred and the profane that collapses past and present through anachronisms of the form and content of belief.