The work of Mexican artist Teresa Margolles revolves around what is perhaps the last great taboo topic of our time: death. Her approach is even more daring, for she is not interested in folklore and ritual but in the palpable reality of the corpse. "What does a corpse have to go through?" wonders Margolles, who is also a forensic medical assistant and a scholar in the field of communications. Employing a minimalist aesthetic, she transforms extinguished life, rendering it perceptible through artistic intervention, thereby rescuing "her" decedents from anonymous oblivion. “Death,” the proverb has it, “is the great leveller”’ Teresa Margolles disagrees: her work shows that, on the contrary, the ways in which people die, and particularly what happens to their bodies after they die, are just as much determined by social and economic factors as our lives are. From her first-hand observations of what happens to the bodies (often anonymous victims of violent crime) brought to the Mexico City morgue, Margolles has developed thought-provoking, often beautiful, sculptures that draw us in, and make us think. Seemingly harmless enough, and yet absolutely loaded, her sculptures carry a macabre implication, and invite visitors to a meditation that is just as political as it is metaphysical. In these last remnants of life, it is all the pain of her country and her continent that Margolles is carrying and collecting, its flagrant social inequalities which she sees every day at the morgue, because it is just so true how ‘rich and poor do not die the same way,’ its unrestrained violence that the politicians studiously ignore. This denunciatory rage makes each of her works a scream in the art lover’s untroubled face.

Born 1963, Culiacan (Sinaloa, Mexico), Teresa Margolles lives and works in Mexico City. In 1995 she received her diploma in forensic medicine and science of communication at the Universidad Nacional de México. Her work has been shown at, amongst others, Kunsthalle Wien (Vienna), La Panadería (Mexico City), Galerie Peter Kilchmann (Zurich), Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen (Düsseldorf), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid), Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston) and P.S.1 (New York).

This event is part of Algo Más Que Palabras / Something More Than Words

Teresa Margolles  
  • Wed 27.6.2007
    20:30 - 20:30
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