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Teresa Margolles’s new show at the Kunsthalle Fridericianum

12 Jan 2011

Teresa Margolles, Muro Ciudad Juárez, 2009

Teresa Margolles, Muro Ciudad Juárez, 2009
(Photo courtesy of FRAC Nord – Pas de Calais, Dunkerque, and Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich. Photo by Nils Klinger)

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Teresa Margolles, one of the artists who participated in our spring 2010 show, In Lieu of Unity, has a new show, at the Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany.

Under the title Frontera, Margolles is presenting works which reflect the frightening extent to which the drug war is influencing Mexican society; they also engage with the general taboo on death and violence. Using reduced but always drastic means, Teresa Margolles creates extremely poignant works of art. At first glance, her works often seem to be minimalist in their form. Viewers only discover that they are deeply emotional and dramatic when they become aware of the rigorous realism in the choice of material.

Margolles uses substances such as blood, body fat or even water used to wash corpses not only symbolically, but also palpably, attacking human beings’ fears of contact in a subtle way. The large painterly exterior work Frontera on the outer façade of the Fridericianum envelops the entire building. 40 lengths of cloth dipped in soil and bodily fluids will make the Fridericianum ‘bleed’ when subjected to weather influences. Margolles confronts visitors directly with death by having water used for washing corpses taken from a Mexican autopsy room drip on to a hot steel plate in the exhibition space, thus making death perceptible both olfactorily and atmospherically. In addition, she put up two walls in the Kassel exhibition, which are witnesses of daily violence: they display bullet holes resulting from shoot-outs related to the drug war. In her filmic works, she documents places with no future in a disturbing way: a poor quarter in the north of Mexico as well as performances at schoolyards in Guadalajara and Ciudad Juárez, are drawing attention to the theme of hopelessness in Mexican towns bordering the USA.

will be on view from 27 May to 21 August 2011 at the Museion.

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