20 April – 30 June 2012
Mexican artist, Teresa Margolles, presented a new body of work for the 2012 Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art. Created during a Glasgow Sculpture Studios Production Residency, the pieces were presented both in the new GSS Gallery at The Whisky Bond and off site in a variety of public spaces.
For the past two decades, Margolles has worked directly with the remains of bodies and also with the traces of life, with shrouds, burial and memory, and the way a violent act shatters human networks and affects them on various levels.
At Glasgow Sculpture Studios Margolles presented A DIAMOND FOR THE CROWN (a text carved on the gallery walls) and DIAMOND (a brilliant ¾ carat, 58 facet cut diamond). Arriving in the UK in the summer of 2011 the artist witnessed a country perceived internationally as ‘ordered’ suddenly erupt into violence, and explored the issues raised by the riots and the days of social and political unrest that followed. Travelling to Croydon to document the aftermath of the riots she encountered burned buildings, looted establishments, broken windows, products from businesses’ shelves scattered in the streets, and CCTV cameras registering the citizens’ movements. The artist collected residues generated by violent acts including carbonized remains from burned houses and of objects that were products of vandalism, generating cartography of the area. After three days she returned to Glasgow to start the process of classification of the collected objects and their documentation. During this process, she separated pieces of wood and carbon from one of the burned buildings in London Road, in Croydon, which she then sent to a company in England that specializes in elaborating diamonds with the remains of ashes from incinerated bodies
Recovery process of a photographic archive (work in progress) is also on display. During her GSS Production Residency the artist began the study, analysis and digitalization of an archive of more than 6,000 negatives from Luis Alvarado, a local photographer based in Ciudad Juárez Mexico. The images, which the artist describes as ‘important documents of a fragment of the history of Juárez’, capture the development and changes that took place during the sixties, seventies and eighties in a town that has since gained notoriety due to extreme violence. Alvarado continues to live and work in Juárez today.
Off Site the artist presented three further works. In Fabrics, installed on a billboard on the Possil Road, Margolles brings part of Mexico to Glasgow: organic matter recovered from places along the northern border of Mexico where violent acts have occurred. Over time these remains will integrate with the Glasgow streetscape transferred by passing foot and vehicular traffic. In the coming months the work will be presented in four further sites across the city.
At The Corinthian Club Margolles presented Armchair reupholstered with a fabric dragged in the streets of Croydon during the English riots: Still Life. A sculptural installation, the piece comprises a single armchair and a stretcher both covered with fabric (previously prepared with a mixture of glue and water) that was dragged through the streets of Croydon, London, to adhere debris days after the English Riots. After GI the work will be presented in vacant shop fronts in the City Centre.
Over the opening weekend of GI Adiós ciudad (a collaboration with Oscar Gardea) was presented in a number of the city’s bars (21 April in the Steps Bar and The Tender Bar at The Hidden Noise Gallery, and 22 April in The Saracen Head). The artist adapted La Barca de Oro (The Golden Boat), a song by the Mexican musician Abundio Martinez, replacing the phrase ‘goodbye woman’ with ‘goodbye city’. In 2010 Margolles created a CD with ten versions of the song performed by street musicians who used to play in the now destroyed bars of Mariscal Street, located in the historic city centre of Ciudad Juárez, together with a further track performed by young musicians who have never been able to play there. For the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art Margolles invited Oscar Gardea, a musician and art student of Universidad Autonoma of Ciudad Juárez, to give a performance of the song in Glasgow’s pubs and karaoke venues.
Margolles‚ new work was been made exclusively for the new GSS galleries and was co-commissioned with Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art (20 April – 7 May 2012). A specially commissioned text by the critic and curator Jessica Berlanga Taylor accompanied the exhibition.
Margolles Production Residency was funded by Creative Scotland, Henry Moore Foundation and The Wellcome Trust. The exhibition is supported by Creative Scotland, Glasgow Life, Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, Glenfiddich, The Henry Moore Foundation, Wellcome Trust and WESTs.