Thursday, 13 December 2012


Teresa Margolles, Embroided Fabric, Guatemala
Fabric with fluids from a murdered woman in Guatemala embroided by Guatemalan indigenous activists

Teresa Margolles, PM 2010
artist book with front covers of Ciudad Juarez PM newspaper documenting the daily deaths occurring in the city

Teresa Margolles, Porque van corriendo esas putas? (Why are those prostitutes running?)
silent video documentation of prostitutes dancing in the street before a shootout in Ciudad Juarez

Teresa Margolles, documentation of the application of grease of 150 murdered young people in the windows of a museum in Mexico

Teresa Margolles, Wound
Incision on wall filled with body fat of murdered people

Teresa Margolles, Sounds from the Morgue

Teresa Margolles, Air
Humidifiers filled with water used to clean corpses of murdered people at the morgue

later that night, after the opening of her exhibition, Teresa Margolles standing on a Carl Andre at the Stedelijk Museum

press release:
Teresa Margolles
Prince Claus Fund Gallery, Amsterdam

On the evening of 10 December, the exhibition ‘Carnal’ by 2012 Prince Claus Laureate Teresa Margolles opened to the public at the Prince Claus Fund Gallery. In a short Q&A, Margolles and curator José Roca discussed the visceral and social impact of Margolles’ work. ‘Carnal’ will be on display through 15 March 2013, Monday-Friday, between 10:00 and 17:00.

“This is not an exhibition to be seen, but an exhibition to be experienced.” -José Roca, curator of 'Carnal'

During the opening, visitors gathered in the Prince Claus Fund gallery to experience the artworks of 2012 Laureate Teresa Margolles. Director of the Prince Claus Fund Christa Meindersma introduced the event and acknowledged the significance of Margolles’ work. She stated, “What strikes me personally is the integrity of her work, which is a testimony to the victims of violence...”

Curator of the exhibition and Prince Claus Awards Committee member José Roca spoke about the challenging subjects Margolles deals with in her work: femicide, gang violence and drug-related homicides, which are all too common in her native Mexico and other parts of Latin America. Roca stated that 'Carnal' seeks to create “active viewers” and that it “is not an exhibition to be seen, but an exhibition to be experienced.” During the Q&A, when asked a question about her role as an artist, Margolles answered with a question that she constantly asks herself: "What is the standpoint of the contemporary artist today in relation to a society that is in constant tension?" Margolles' works have a clear response in their direct but nuanced exploration of violence.

Carnal means ‘bodily’ in Spanish. In Mexico it is also an expression used to reference a close acquaintance. In Margolles' exhibition, carnal refers to both the body and Margolles’ empathy with her subjects as well as the social issues she presents. ‘Carnal’ alludes to the limits of what a society, traumatised by violence, can endure. 2012 Prince Claus Laureate Teresa Margolles is honoured for creating powerful artworks that demand attention to violence, poverty and the alienation of society.

NB: Due to the nature of Margolles’ practice, viewer discretion is advised. By entering the exhibition the visitor agrees to participate in the experience of the works.

Teresa Margolles (1963, Culiacán, Sinaloa) is a visual artist who examines the social causes and consequences of death. Early work with the underground music group SEMEFO focused directly on death through gruesome images, but her experience in the city morgue, which receives the bodies of victims of violence, those who cannot afford a funeral and the unrecognised and unclaimed, led her to deeper social engagement. For Margolles, the morgue accurately reflects society, particularly her home area where deaths caused by drug-related crime, poverty, political crisis and government’s brutal military response have devastated communities. She has developed a unique, restrained language in order to speak for her silenced subjects, the victims discounted as ‘collateral damage’ and nameless statistics.

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