Migros Museum
Limmatstrasse 270
+41 442772050 FAX +41 442776286
Two exhibitions
dal 22/5/2014 al 16/8/2014
tue-fri 11am-6pm, thu 11am-8pm, sat-sun 10am-5pm

Segnalato da

Rene' Muller

calendario eventi  :: 


Two exhibitions

Migros Museum, Zurich

Teresa Margolles presents a new work consisting of 8 glass panes transferred from Ciudad Juarez: a sound installation focusing on the missing women and the female homicides in the city. Also in her solo show the sculpture 'Mesa y dos bancos'. For 'Collection on Display', on show the works of Jean-Marc Bustamante, Liz Craft, Sylvie Fleury, Rachel Harrison, Kerstin Kartscher, Dawn Mellor and David Renggli.

comunicato stampa

Teresa Margolles
La búsqueda

curated by Raphael Gygax, Curator, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst

The works by Mexican artist Teresa Margolles (b. 1963, Culiacán) revolve around themes such as death, violence and social exclusion. Since the start of the 1990s, she has also worked in the forensic medicine department of an autopsy facility in Mexico City, where numerous, mostly anonymous, victims of violent crime are brought in on a daily basis. Her works, which adhere to a minimalist approach, are produced against this societal backdrop. Since 2005, this artist has mainly examined the extreme violence in the nort- hern Mexican border city of Ciudad Juárez and the drug war that is raging there. Also for her first institutional solo exhibition in Switzerland, Margolles is addressing Ciudad Juárez as a place of crime. At the center is a series of female homicides, so-called femicides, that has been ongoing since the start of the 1990s. Here, Margolles is primarily interes- ted in the traces that the brutal crimes leave behind on architectures, and how these shape people's everyday lives. By transposing such traces into an exhibition space, the artist generates a charged interplay between mundane presentation and grim realism.

As a founding member of the artists' group Semefo (Servicio Médico Forense; 1990–99) Teresa Margolles already began her career at the start of the 1990s, addressing explicit materials and the evocative themes that preoccupy her to this day. Even though her works are sometimes very pola- rizing, the artist does not set out to shock. Instead, she wants to demonstrate the social injustices in her home country, which also continue to exist after death: the anonymous corpses resulting from violent crimes often disappear in mass graves; the same thing happens with deceased whose families cannot raise sufficient funds for a funeral. In Margolles's works, the traces of such dead bodies, even if their presence is only minimal, represent the value system of a society in a state of emergency. In an interview with the exhibition's curator, Raphael Gygax, Margolles explains: "It is a form of perverse minimalism. Historical minimalism has no emotions. However, all of my works are filled with emotions. People are better at concentrating when faced with minimalist forms." As part of her first institutional solo exhibition in Switzerland, Margolles presents a new work consisting of 8 glass panes transferred from Ciudad Juárez. This sound installation focuses on the missing women and the female homicides in Ciudad Juárez. Here, Margolles directs her attention to the traces that the brutal crimes leave behind on architectures. Ciudad Juárez, a city with over a million inhabitants on the border with the USA (El Paso, Texas), is one of Mexico's most rapidly growing cities and has a leading position in the country's crime statistics. However, it appears that this has been changing recently: already in 2012, the number of crime victims dropped signifi- cantly, and drug-related crimes in particular saw a decline. However, there is no decrease in the female homicides that have kept occurring since the 1990s. According to Amnesty International, 370 women and girls were killed between 1993 and 2005. Local women's rights organizations put the number of deaths from 1993 to 2013 at over 600. In the first years, the victims were mostly workers at American corporations' assembly factories, whereas in the recent past they have been mainly students. Many of the found corpses have been attacked, raped and mutilated in a sadistic manner. Although arrests have been made, the series of murders is not stopping, and to this day the motives also remain unknown. Such abductions and gender-related murders are also committed in other Mexican states and Central American countries, such as Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras, for instance.

La búsqueda is also a research on sound sensations. The sound comes, or has been recorded, from a train in Ciudad Juárez that goes in and out of the city carrying merchandise produced there. The train crosses over 12 km of the city and the sound it produces can be heard all around the city. The recorded sound has subsequently been transformed by a sound technician in Zurich, thus making the museum an epicenter of pain and tragedy.

In this exhibition, alongside the new work on the female homicides in Ciudad Juárez, the sculpture Mesa y dos bancos can be seen. This comprises a table and two benches, made from a mixture of cement and material taken from the ground, on which there lay the body of a person murdered at the northern Mexican border. Via the presentation of this sculpture in a western city, the Central American cartels' global drug market and the associated relentless murders are thematized in a formally subtle way.

Teresa Margolles's works have been exhibited internationally, for instance at Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel (solo exhibition, 2010/11), Venice Biennale (2009), Manifesta (2008), Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (solo exhibition, 2004), Kunsthalle Wien (solo exhibition, 2003) and the Lyon Biennale (2000). In 2010, the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst presented her work 37 cuerpos / 37 Bodies (2007) as part of the group exhibition Une Idée, une Forme, un Être – Poésie / Politique du corporel.


COLLECTION on display

Jean-Marc Bustamante, Liz Craft, Sylvie Fleury, Rachel Harrison, Kerstin Kartscher, Dawn Mellor, David Renggli

curated byJudith Welter, Collection Curator, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst

Collection on Display presents selected works from the collection of the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst.

The new three-part cycle of collection presentations focuses on excesses, in terms of form and motif. The first two exhibitions focus on the genres of painting and drawing in a broad sense. The exhibitions question the cultural and art-historical connotations of these media, which have been developing beyond the limitations of the tableau format for quite some time. The exhibited works explore the possibilities and status quo of painting, while also thematizing repetition, re-reading and pastiches of art history's topoi. In terms of form, they are characterized by either the excess, or the reduction, of signs and materials. In the first part, works by Jean-Marc Bustamante, Liz Craft, Sylvie Fleury, Rachel Harrison, Kerstin Kartscher, Dawn Mellor and David Renggli shall be exhibited.

"Excess" encompasses transgression, debauchery and surplus. As a formal feature of art, excess approximately equates to a superfluity of materials or images. However, "excess" can be just as present in gestures of reduction or abstraction. The term also describes modes of artistic practice, such as repetition, mania or above-average perseverance. To no small extent, despite the deconstruction of authorship, the myth of the artist working to excess is a topos of art that lives on to this day. "Excess" is a universal theme of art, a theme that is applied in terms of both motif and form in equal measure, in the sense of a postmodern work concept without boundaries. Last but not least, a collection of art, as a juxtaposition of very different styles and a representative accumulation, is always a form of excess. The first two parts of the exhibition focus on the medium of painting, which, from a certain perspective, is considered the "pinnacle of art". Forms of excess and excessive gestures have often found a platform within painting. In 20th-century modernism, painting, as a self-reflective medium, served to defend the autonomy of art. In postmodernism, on the other hand, it was frowned upon by some critics and described as a regressive medium that was primarily associated with itself and with the accompanying mystifications. An "end of painting" has not arrived, and today painterly practices are also used to address conceptual or sculptural issues; conversely, other media are of an equally pictorial or painterly nature.

The 2007 work You, Can You Recommend Your Psychiatrist? by David Renggli (b. 1974), which was already shown as part of the last Collection on Display exhibition, can still be seen in the first room. This work thematizes aspects of excess via its form of presentation and production. Here, Renggli addresses key topoi of art history and examines the potential of the flood of images. This room installation comprises 1001 very densely hung pictures. The collages, drawings and assemblages comprise painted-over newspaper pages, invitation cards or cheap prints of works from art history. The pictures are produced in a quick, spontaneous and sketchy process. It is not the indi- vidual work that is foremost, but the manic congestion of images covering the walls from top to bottom and following the principle of horror vacui. In one respect, the overloading and overtaxing of the observer (the individual motifs get lost in the sheer volume) refers to a classical manner of hanging art in a museum, but also in a court, whereby the walls (as originally seen in St. Petersburg's Hermitage, for instance) are so densely filled with paintings that the individual painting becomes of secondary importance, such that the observer is impressed by the accumulated volume. Here, the representative function of art as a distinctive feature in society confronts the individuality of artistic expression. Renggli’s way of working, the recycling and sampling of ima- ges, also raises the topic of the continually present and uncontrollable flood of images that defines our medial and aesthetic thinking.

The opposite occurs in Pinwheel III (Palm Tree) (2008) by Liz Craft (b. 1970), who undertakes an abstraction of eclectic popular and cultural motifs via reduction. Pinwheel III (Palm Tree) comes across like a surreal painting that has been transferred to three-dimensionality. This sculpture is actually a white painted aluminum house, inside which there resides a palm tree that can be observed through window-like openings. The architectural structure of Pinwheel III (Palm Tree) is inspired by an oriental Ikea carpet with labyrinthine patterns like, for instance, the pinwheel motif referred to here, which often appears on oriental carpets. Empty classical picture frames, as windows, provide a view of the installation’s interior. However, they also suggest the model of a living room, where paintings assume a decorative function. To no small extent, the kitschy absorption of the traditional carpet by a mass product represents the aesthetics of popular culture, which Craft repeatedly addresses and refers to. Engagement with forms of spiritualism, esotericism and new-age culture, is a fundamental element of her work. In Los Angeles, the artist's home city, these so-called countercultures have had a fertile breeding ground for years, and thus they also influence everyday city life.

In the painted works of Dawn Mellor (b. 1970), "excess" is conveyed in work method, and at the same time it is also an object of investigation. Her painting style draws from a very wide range of styles, such as surrealism, pop art and the "poor taste" of amateurish painting. With her large- format Dorothy cycle, which began in 2006 (the protagonist of this series being the character of Dorothy Gale, played by Judy Garland in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz), Mellor continues her investigation of the iconology and mythology of mass media and pop culture, and how they affect societal models. Mellor deconstructs the interactive structure of the cult of celebrity, which appears to have been chosen as a substitute for religion in our society. She is particularly interested in the relationship between the star and his or her devout supporter, the fan, whereby the artist herself often adopts the role of an obsessed follower. Via her self-assigned "painting roles", Mellor destroys the moral codes implied by mass entertainment and advocates a "deliberated immorality". Here, in the face of obsessive worlds of images, the question of the observer's own standardized taste is also repeatedly raised. Mellor makes use of the multiple cultural coding of the film character Dorothy Gale: in the film, the character is a good middle-class allegory of the "white" rite of passage, but this later merges with the image of the actress Judy Garland, who made headlines with excessive drug use and became an icon for the homosexual movement. Mellor multiplies these differing notions: in her paintings, she develops the character further, incorporating the complex reception history on the one hand, and the film iconography on the other hand, while creating new narratives.

Riviera & Canaille (Blue Notes & Incognito) (2004/2014) by Sylvie Fleury (b. 1961) combines two completely different poles of "excess": the fetishization of iconic luxury goods, and the artistic reduction of marks, as practiced by minimalist artists, for instance. Since the mid-1990s, Fleury has addressed the pretence of the world of commodities by positioning luxury items in the exhibi- tion space as readymades. In Fleury's work, the presentation of promises from advertising and the exploration of iconic labels like Chanel or Prada are always accompanied by a critical examination of male-dominated images from art history, as have established themselves in minimalism or con- ceptual art. Riviera & Canaille (Blue Notes & Incognito) refers to this male-canonized art history with an invocation of Carl Andre, who is seen as one of the most significant representatives of minimalism. Since the mid-1960s, he has concentrated on flat sculptures comprising square plates of materials such as copper, lead, aluminum and steel. From the observer, he expects a participatory effort, in that he calls on them to perform a sensory transgression. Fleury's floor plates, arranged identically to Andre's, are "soiled": on these plates, the artist uses a sledgehammer to smash the Chanel make-up compacts from which the title stems. With a glamorous gesture, this nonchalant act refers to the reception, iconification and auratization of an art form, which sud- denly appears strict and rigid with its self-imposed dogmas. The lipstick ends from the installation Flesh, Red, Pink, Rose (1997/2014) have a similarly playful function. In these decontextualized arrangements, abstracted luxury make-up colors, used as readymades, take on painterly or sculp- tural qualities.

In her large-format drawings, Kerstin Kartscher (b. 1966) creates her own drawn universe, reminiscent of organic fantasy architectures. This visual world also refers to phenomena of pop culture, as expressed and satirized by Liz Craft and Dawn Mellor, for instance. At the center of Ice Skater (2001), the eponymous ice skater stands surrounded by a surreal landscape. The text "endless", written into the background, which is reminiscent of a mountain landscape, also refers to a fantastical fairy-tale world. The artist has worked on a large paper surface with a felt-tip pen, which to no small extent is also equivalent to the manic work process of an excessive gesture.

One frequently recurring theme in the works of Jean-Marc Bustamante (b. 1952) is the linking of the intellectual, abstract space with the real space in nature and architecture. The artist also addresses this in the work shown here: Feuille (1992). This piece consists of painted iron and oscillates between abstract "incompletion" and a sensory experience of nature, implied by the title. The glossy, monochrome surface causes the "plant leaf" to appear artificial; mounted on the wall, it becomes a sculptural painting. Bustamante has long been preoccupied with such forms of disassociation, reduction and of boundary-crossing exchange between sculpture, painting and photography. For instance, at the end of the 1970s he became known for large-format color pho- tographs of Spanish landscapes, which he described as tableaus.

Rachel Harrison (b. 1966) combines relics of pop culture with handmade painted forms, to produce sculptures and installations. An eclectic bringing-together of very different materials leads to a new "overall image". The questioning of the portrait, but also of the sculpture, and the traditionally associated plinth as a display body, forms the starting point for the 2007 installation Trees for the Forest. Portraits painted in oil, found by the artist at flea markets, hang on colorfully painted wooden steles. If seen from afar, the work looks like a dense forest of multi-colored, pain- ted wooden plinths. This "sculptural forest" of a multitude of materials equates to an open experimental arrangement. Harrison's work revolves around the exploration of art-historical discourses and work categories that characterized the 20th century. As a homage, the steles refer to the sculptures by American artist Anne Truitt, who is seen as one of the few female representatives of minimalism. This form of self-reflective art-intrinsic discourse is part of a tradition that has been practiced, with various facets, since minimalism and its aesthetic deliberations, as well as later in appropriation art.

Image: Sylvie Fleury, Riviera & Canaille (Blue Notes & Incognito), 2004/2014. Metal plates, make-up, 0.5 x 300 x 300 cm

For more information and visual materials, please contact René Müller, head of press and public relations:
T +41 44 277 27 27 rene.mueller@mgb.ch

Opening friday 23 May 2014, 6-9p.m.

Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst
Limmatstrasse 270 - 8005 Zurich
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