Cuevas's cinema education began at age thirteen when she viewed an average of four films a day for two years straight, while cutting classes from junior high school in Paris. During this period she also perfected the Technique of hiding in bathrooms during the interlude between film functions. At sixteen, she had her first hands on contact with film, repairing old movies in the Cineteca Nacional in Mexico City. At eighteen, she worked as art assistant on Missing by Costa Gavras and studied film at both the New School for Social Research and Columbia University in New York City.
Between 1980 and 1990 she worked on more than 20 feature films and held such diverse jobs as script supervisor, assistant director, art, and stand-in. Her credits include films such as Under the Volcano, by John Huston (script supervisor and production assistant), The Falcon and The Snowman by John Schlesinger (art assistant and stand-in), Mentiras piadosas by Arturo Ripstein, Encuentro inesperado by Jaime Humberto
Hermosillo (assistant director).
In 1991 she bought a video 8 home movie camera and "retired" from film. She states, "When I was a child, my favorite game was to climb over fences, to hide under tables, and to listen to the everyday conversations of strangers. From that invisible perspective, I would reconstruct the lives of those people. The video camera continues to exert over me that fascination with secrets, and I wouldn't change the private act of video for the big apparatus of film."
Cuevas is obsessed with the micro movements of daily life, with the border between truth and fiction, with the "impossibility" of reality. Her work relentlessly seeks out the layers of lies covering the everyday representations of reality and systematically explores the fictions of national identity and gender. It redefines the meaning of documentary. Her videos have been shown in festivals such The New York Film Festival, Sundance, Berlin, and Montreal, and she was the featured artist at "Video Viewpoints" in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She has been an invited speaker at numerous events, including those sponsored by the Pacific Film Archives in San Francisco, the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, the Guggenheim in New York, and Bilbao. Among the many grants she has received are those from the FONCA (Mexican National Endowment for Culture and the Arts), the Eastman Kodak Worldwide Independent Filmmaker Product Grant, and the Rockefeller, MacArthur, Lampiada grant. The Museum of Modern Art in New York has 9 videos of Ximena Cuevas in its permanent collection. The first time the museum has a Mexican video artist in its collection. “Medias Mentiras” is part of the permanent collection of the New Medias of George Pompidou Museum in Paris, France. She is one of the featuring artists in the book “Ice Cream”, edited by Pahidon.
Ximena Cuevas. Ciudad de México. 1963. Exposiciones: Radical Women : Latin American Art 1960-1985, Hammer Museum Hallucinations Documenta 14 Athens Feedback, Museum of Modern Art, Nueva York, 2007; Smile Machines, Transmediale 06, Berlin, 2006; Locuras contemporáneas, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 2006; Survey the Border, Getty Institute, Los Angeles, 2005; Ximena Cuevas: The Silent World, 17 Stuttgarter Filmwinter, Stuttgart, 2004; Ximena Cuevas: Identidade, Sexualidad e Politica, 13Videobrasil, Sao Paulo, 2001; Momenta, Centro Nacional de las Artes, México D.F., 2000. Curadoría: True Fantasies, Videozone 3, Tel Aviv, 2006; Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, Video Mundi, Chicago, 2003; Mexico City Behind Closed Doors, Up and Coming Film Festival, Hannover, 1997. email@example.com.