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Carlos Amorales

Work Documentation

1996-2012

Carlos Amorales
Abraham Gonzales 130, interior 15
Col. Juarez, Del. Cuauhtemoc, Represented by
C.P. 06600, Mexico City. carlos@nuevosricos.com Galeria Kurimanzutto in Mexico City and
Tel 5255 52769039 www.estudioamorales.com Yvon Lambert Gallery in Paris
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Index of Works

Page 3 and 4: Coal Printing Machine,


Page 14: Herramientas de Trabajo, Page 27: Devil Dance, 2000-2003
2012 2010


Page 5: Supprimer, Modifier et Page 15 and 16: La Hora Nacional, 2010
Preserver, 2011

Page 17: Black Cloud Aftermath,
Page 28: Flames Maquiladora,

Page 6: We Will See How Every 2007- 2011 2001-03
thing Reverberates, 2012
Page 18: Black Cloud, 2007 Page 29:
Amorales vs Amorales,
Page 7: Vertical Earthquake, 2010 1999-2003
Page 19: Drifting Star, 2010
Page 8: Germinal, 2010 In Conversation With Ray
Page 30:

Page 20: Dark Mirror (sculpture), Rosas, 2007


Page 9: Apple Jus Can, 2012 2008
Amorales Interim, 2007
The Tounge of the Death, Transformable Spider
2012 Webs, 2008 Arena 2 de mayo, 2007


Page 10: Fructidor  (from the French Page 21: Psicofonias, 2008
revolutionary calendar  series),
2011 Page 22: Useless Wonder, 2006

Playing Between the Lines Page 23: Dark Mirror, 2005


(musical score series), 2011
Page 24: Why Fear the Future?, 2005

Page 11: Vagabond in France and
Belgium, 2011 Page 25: Liquid Archive, 2000-10

Page 12 and 13: Throwing the Studio Out Page 26: Nuevos Ricos, 2003-09
of the Window 2010
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Coal Printing Machine Exhibited for the first time in a former coal mine in symbols that supposedly can invoke demons but which
2012 Belgium, this paper labyrinth generates from the out- also are considered to be the predecessors of the elec-
Installation: machine, coal, steel, epoxy paint and put by a machine which draws with coal. By making an tronic circuits that are in use today. The machine func-
analogy between the mine’s excavated underground and tions through the span of the exhibition, changing the
paper banners
the Hades, the drawings are repetitive patterns of magic structure of the labyrinth day by day.
Variable dimensions
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Coal Printing Machine


2012
Views from the working process.
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Supprimer, Modifier et Preserver An updated version of the French civil code was printed process, the erasable books became a tool to question the
2011 with graphite and then given to different lawyers to erase, meaning of social rules that where written centuries ago
Books made with graphite, paper and cardboard. modify or preserve the laws that each one considered but which are still in use: by erasing some rules a moment
fundamental for its own practice or for the law in general. of suspension was created.
Video projection on wall with sound.
By encouraging a discussion with the lawyers through this
Duration: 28’42”
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We Will See How Everything Reverberates A group of mobiles where installed in an art space by ting the mobiles sound as musical instruments. The piece
2012 rendering the hanging structures that Alexander Calder became a registration of the visitor’s attitudes and moods;
Steel, cooper and epoxy paint used for his mobiles but substituting the colorful abstract whereas some people are shy and subtle when hitting the
shapes with cooper cymbals. Beyond the act of contem- cymbals, others tend to be aggressive and loud.
Installation with variable dimensions
plation the public was given access to drum sticks for let-
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Vertical Earthquake Crooked metal rulers where made by following the patterns. A work that in one hand is a formal study about
2010 cracked lines that appeared in the buildings that collapsed how a chaotic form becomes organized by its constant ap-
Steel rulers, graphite on wall in Mexico City’s earthquake in 1985. The rulers hanged pliance, it is as well a reflection about how a moment of
from a nail on the wall and then pencil lines where traced social anarchy can be used to become a newer order.
Dimensions according to space
to form semi circles made by the repetition of the zigzag
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Germinal Newspaper juxtaposing images from Mexico City’s 1985 the catastrophe layered the first steps for a change that
2010 earthquake and anarchist texts from the last century. This took fifteen years to happen, in 2000. Based on pictures
Serigraphed journal on paper, graphite and paint. work proposes a reflection on how a two week lapse of of the broken buildings, the newspaper copies where
53 x 37,5 cm spontaneous anarchy was a profoundly influential after- drawn with chaotic pencil lines, as to stain the reader’s
math for challenging the then official party government in fingers.
Mexico. The citizen movement that was generated from
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Apple Jus Can The Tounge of the Death Experiments in placing the pictographic language into
2012 2012 popular media; one is a commission to intervene a jus
Graphic intervention on a commercial juice can. photo roman, silkscreen on paper. can which will be massively distributed, the other takes
a popular form like a photo roman which was edited with
Comissioned by a jus company in Mexico. 75 x 57 cm (29.53 x 22.44 in)
gruesome media images from those killed in the last six
years war against the Narco in Mexico.
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Fructidor  (from the French revolutionary Playing Between the Lines The pictograms used as abstract motifs to, first, com-
calendar  series) (musical score series) pose a series of twelve paintings symbolizing the French
2011 2011 revolutionary calendar and then an intervened page from
a musical score by Dvorak (Slavic Dances) where the
Laquer paint and wax varnish on canvas Ink on offset printed paper
pictograms interfere with the reading of the music.
240 x 180 cm (94.49 x 70.87 in) each 27.5 x 40 cm (10.83 x 15.75 in) each
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Vagabond in France and Belgium The abstract forms that where previously condensed from image. The forms being alphabetic pictograms, the text is
2011 the Liquid Archive are explored as typefaces in a series in fact a short story by writer Roberto Bolaño in which he
of posters that turn into a booklet. By downscaling the describes his searching for an artist and poet who worked
6 posters and silk screened book on paper
forms into the size of a printable type, the forms began with this sort of asemic writing in Belgium.
Posters: 120 x 180 cm each to play ambiguously as they can be perceived like text or
Book: 30 x 42 cm
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Throwing the Studio Out of the Window 2010 This installation implies the artists studio space as a archived into what resulted as a series of abstract shapes
Installation reproducible form in itself, rebuild in 1:1 scale inside a containing bits of those former renderings. The collab-
gallery, that contains the visual language that defines it. orative working process annihilated the Liquid Archive
Pencil on wall, wood, paint.
By transforming the digital information into actual ob- as an artistic resource, transforming it into a source with
Dimensions: jects and inviting 20 artists to overdraw the studio walls, open meaning.
a fragmentation of the figurative visual language was
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Throwing the Studio Out of the Window 1. Principal elements of the digital archive of images by chance.
2010 turned into drawing tools. 4. Tracing the forms with a pencil on the wall´s surface.
Views from the working process. 2. Appliance of the drawing tools by draing on the tool´s 5. Images resulting from filling up the gaps in between the
boders.. pencil lines.
3. Composition made by overlapping the drawing stencils
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Herramientas de Trabajo In this film different figures are tossed over a white It is in Arp’s last studio where a collection of hand thorn
2010 surface to create chance compositions. This work was papers are kept. Those papers where tossed over blank
16 mm B/W film transferred to digital video,  conceived after a research invitation from the Cabaret surfaces for making chance compositions in a similar
Voltaire in Zurich to explore Hans Arp’s oeuvre and manner as how, now with digital means, the Liquid Ar-
without sound
personal archives in different museums and foundations. chive was used.
One channel video projection, 12’ 15”
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La Hora Nacional A stop motion like animation film resulted from a two to the order of his own archive of images and propose an
year research into the Pre-Colombian collection of a alternative reading of the national cultural heritage. To
2010
private museum in the state of Puebla, Mexico. After overcome the dramatic representation of this historical
16 mm color film transferred to noticing that the collection wasn’t scientifically ordered art crafts in museums (zenith light on colorless terra-cotta)
digital video, with sound but arranged by nationalistic ideological conventions, the the figures where immersed in color paint, radically trans-
One channel video projection, 5’ 59” artist decided to make replicas, rearrange them according forming them and opening their interpretation.
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La Hora Nacional 1. Display of a Pre-Columbian piece at the museum. 5. Replicas of Pre-Columbian pieces made by copying
2008-10 2. Institutional documentation of the piece. the archive photographs.
Views from the working process. 3. Comparison between both the artist and the museum 6. Immersion of the replicas in paint.
archives. 7. Filming of the pieces to imply a narrative alternative to
4. Reclassification of the museum collection according to the institutional.
the artist´s archive classification.
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Black Cloud Aftermath Images a the lecture where the migration of a plague of display which generated a series of dresses and further
2007- 2011 moths is narrated: from a mental image followed by it´s copies by other companies. Notions of authorship, piracy,
PowerPoint lecture by the artist. materialization as an art installation, to it´s exhibition free market, memory and anonymity are discussed in a
and -by crossing through the art world system- how it was lecture that has been presented as an ongoing research.
appropriated by a fashion brand that used it as a shop
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Black Cloud The dream like image of a vaulted space filled with a context of an art fair, a museum, the house of a collector
2007 swarm of moths motivated its materialization in paper and finally in a former church. The piece was installed
30,000 paper moths glued on the walls and ceiling. and installation by occupying the entirety of the artist’s by using the entirety of the rooms, both in the public and
studio. From this initial moment the piece was packaged private areas, without making distinctions, adjusting to
Dimensions variable according to space.
and send to be exhibited in an art gallery, then in the the architectural conditions.
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Drifting Star Large scale three-dimensional rendering of the initial in the space of the museum. The installation, when seen
2010 scene of the animation film Dark Mirror, where the shape in motion, causes the same visual illusion of 3D anima-
Installation of a bird splinters in an explosion, thus becoming an tion films. This piece was presented for the first time in
abstract motif. The spatial position of each piece was first a show in Israel, where it referenced to the historical
Hanging acrylic plates
calculated in a 3D virtual environment and then hanged process of that country, in an abstract way.
Dimensions according to space
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Dark Mirror (sculpture) Transformable Spider Webs Both pieces are three-dimensional renderings modeled
2008 2008 from recurrent images belonging to the Liquid Archive.
Painted resin Aluminum, paint and black and white film The bird shape was sectioned with the pattern of the
spider web, the web lines used as a cutting tool, fragment-
Dimensions Dimensions variable
ing it and giving the impression of being broken when
subjected to the gravity of the real space.
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Psicofonias Double screen projection displaying images from a and mechanically performed music. The program func-
2008 computer program that interprets the structure of digital tions as a translating device were images are converted to
Installation of two channel black and white video drawings as music. Psicofonias is based in the player music or vice versa, it’s the first abstraction of the visual
piano music composed by Conlon Nancarrow in which language contained in the Liquid Archive and the last
connected to a MIDI system, two floating screens
he punched pianola rolls that where read by the machine from the animation series that where made with it.
and sound system. Dimensions variable
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Useless Wonder This work was made after assembling a small animation travel was replaced by the image of a wondering world
2006 studio that contributed and resourced from the Liquid Ar- map that becomes chaotic and then rearranges itself. The
Two channel video animation projected on a chive. The narrative suggested in the film is freely based music was composed to be synchronic with the different
on “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantuck- moments of the film, as in classic animation.
floatting screen.
et” by Edgar Allan Poe whereas a fantastic 18th century
8min, 35 sec
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Dark mirror An experiment to delegate the artistic authorship to oth- in accompanying silent films composed and played the
2005 ers, this animation was commissioned to a motion graph- score by looking at the same visual elements available.
Two-channel video projection on floating screen, ics artist who was asked to use freely the vector images Both sides (sound and image) where confronted together
from the Liquid Archive and generate the film’s visual when the work was shown publicly for the first time, plac-
color with sound, 15 minutes loop. Animation by
narrative (1). For the back view (2) a musician specialized ing the artist as spectator of it’s own work.
Andre Pahl; music by Jose Maria Serralde.
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Why Fear the Future? A deck of Tarot-like cards was printed with esoteric to the cards was diffrent -some where rational, some
2005 compositions made with images taken from the Liquid intuitive- many common points of interpretation where
Two-channel video projection on wall, Archive. The cards where given to diffrent Tarot readers reached. The filming of this process is a basic form of
and asked to propose the rules for displaying them and to animation, suggesting that card reading, by telling stories
color with sound, 25 minutes, loop.
give an interpretation. Although each person´s approach through images, could be a primitive form of cinema.
2.
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3.

Liquid Archive Views from the computer interface where the actual files alize the archive it was cutted out as black paper forms
2000-10 of the archive are organized in several categories and sub- that where displayed on 15 vitrines (2.). Forms like birds,
Vector Drawing paper cutouts, vitrines categories (1.). The files are vector graphics therefor they animals, Rorchach spots, human figures, typefaces and
exist only as data that can be used for means such as are textures, where arranged by grouping them by mirroring
Variable dimensions
animation works, collages, printing or paintings. To visu- the computer archives (3.)
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Nuevos Ricos Music label initiated with a musician and a designer as a and images distributed for free, no acceptance of spon-
2003-2009 platform to publish music and popularize anarchistic at- sor logos and experimenting with show business rituals)
Record label, in collaboration with Julian Léde and titudes within the Mexican youth. Through the years that the label gained global recognition. It was an attempt for
the label existed and because a series of anti capitalism stimulating an historical moment when the country was
Andre Pahl. Music publishing, website, visual prod-
rules stated in a manifesto published in its website (music opening up for democracy.
ucts and performances.
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Devil Dance A jester costume with a faceless devil’s mask was used from the performer, creating an impersonal distance that
2000-2003 for performing within the audience of a concert or an although sympathetic it was nevertheless uncanny. The
Performance art show, by inviting them to dance. The mask frustrated dance was performed in several places as a travelling
the possibility for eye contact and alienated the dancing show with musician Julian Léde, becoming the prelude
character from the public and simultaneously this one for the record label in which both collaborated later.
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Flames Maquiladora Departing conceptually from the production of garments who contributed with labor for free in exchange of being
2001-2003 by craftsman associated to the wrestling world (masks, entertained by making. parts in a manual process. Not
Installation, disguise and shoes makers) this travelling installation one shoe was completed in the three year existence of the
functioned as a temporary sweatshop that ideally pro- project, which was the aim, as the production was to be
variable dimensions
duced sport shoes. The production scheme functioned utopic.
under the principle that it was the exhibition’s audience
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Amorales vs Amorales Los Amorales (book) The final outcome of the Amorales masked character
1999-2003 Published in 2001 by Artimo was, first, a series of wrestling matches that happen both
8 channels video in monitors Page selections in wrestling arenas and in museums, and second, the
edition of a book containing images, conversations and
With sound Edited by Linda Van Deursen and
sentences that form the narration of the entire project.
Various time lenghts Carlos Amorales
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In Conversation With Ray Rosas 51’27” Making a double of oneself -Amorales- as a portable where equated; the gallerist with the promoter’s and the
Amorales Interim 9’45” character, was a seven years long experimental project art museum with the arena. Three seminal videos mark
Arena 2 de mayo 14’ 24” and sociological research about the meaning and use of the first steps into the development of this concept: the
2007, masks. To mirror the wrestling world with the art world making of the mask as a portrait as seen by others, the
each is a one-channel video with sound became an idea where the artist and the wrestler’s role confrontation with oneself and then with the other.
Presented in two monitors and one projector
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Index of Texts

Page 32: For Amorales Interim


by Philippe Vergne

Page 35: Gallery Exploits


by Cuauhtémoc Medina


Page 36: Pleased To Meet You
by Lisette Smitts

Page 37: Liquid Archive


by Raphaela Platow

Page 41: Black Cloud Aftermath


por Graciela Speranza

Page 46: Amorales’ claim


by Adrian Notz

Page 51: Amorales vs. Amorales


by Jens Hoffmann

Page 54: A Conversation With Carlos Amorales


by Hadas Maor

Page 61: Joan Jonas and Carlos Amorales:


A Conversation

Page 67: Curriculum Vitae


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For Amorales Interim   becoming increasingly common.
by Philippe Vergne The factor that seems to bring together the  
  various protagonist of what has become an The reality which circumscribes the work of
enormous, lucrative and flashy industry is Carlos Amorales is that of the Other,  of the
undoubtedly its simplicity and simplism: good/ dominated rather of the dominating, of a bias
bad, loser/winner, black/white, moral/inmoral. of modesty. It refers to a real popular culture
And this simplistic approach is equaled only by which is the domain of a group more than of
the pseudonyms of these new gods of the arena: the masses. The structure which he borrows is
Hollywood Hogan, Chris Jericho, Macho Man, not that of the World Championship Wrestling
When we look at the work of Carlos Amorales, The Dog-Faced Gremlin, The Total Package… but that of Lucha Libre, the professional 
it is  easy, obvious and doubtless legitimate to   wrestling circuit in Mexico.
refer to the world of wrestling.  It is legitimate It is difficult to refrain from judgment, to  
to the extent that it is somehow reassuring to suppress a cry of “bread and circuses” and to As can be seen in Ralph Rugoff ’s excellent
watch an artist who responds critically (one avoid making accusations of populism. But description 3, Lucha Libre is not a sport but a
hopes) to a phenomenon which is invading the temptation is even greater when, offstage, journey to the hearth of a mysterious universe
the media and even the political arena. Within outside the ring, certain participants are where we witness the collision of approximately
the space os a few years, American wrestling elected to government office, manipulating 2000 fictitious, mythological and masked
has taken over trasatlantic television screens, the ambiguous nature of their past, no characters:Ulises, El Angel Azteca, Vampiro
populating viewers’ imaginations with masked longer knowing whether they are gladiators Casanova, Hannibal, Kung Fu…
models who are as inflated as they are violent, or senators, or gladiators who have become  
as macho as they are vicious. This is a genuine senators. 1 Lucha Libre has been a genuine national
culture with codes of clothing, lenguage, body   pastime since the thirties: approximately 80
language and music, and it is attracting an Even if the world seems to have transformed million tickets are sold every year nationwide –
increasingly younger audience – so young into an amusement park, which is certainly 80 million tickets for a drama whose outcome
that the magazine New World Order, which is healthly to cuestion, Carlos Amorales is not is determined  beforehand and in which the
dedicated to these new gods and their Olympus, Andy Kaufman. 2  His work is critical but it concepts of moral/inmoral/amoral crumble in
is sold quite innocently at Toys ’R US without does not target the phenomenon described the face of the charisma of the protagonists and
anybody taking offence. The codes are clear here. At most, he borrows its structure as well the quality of the show.
and they are doubtless the key to success: bodies as its value as a culture and a cult. These two  
with proportions which owe more to hormones words seem almos contradictory when talking The coupling of the enormous popularity
than harmony, loud costumes which leave about World Championship Wrestling, which, of Lucha Libre and the political situation in
no detail to the anatomy to the imagination, incidentally, is entirely American. But this Mexico gave birth almost a decade ago to the
distorted expressions… is undoubtedly a view of the World that is phenomenon  of   “social worker” wrestlers,
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of whom the most prominent exponent is as an artist with Mexican roots living in the confines os the screen. The two opponents
undoubtedly Superbarrio. Superbarrio, a Amsterdam, has established the necessary wear the same mask: Amorales, the effigy and
superhero whith a beer belly, agitates against distance between himself and an element of the alter ego of the artist. In addition to its
corrupt politicians and ilegal evictions. He fights his cultural identity, Lucha Libre, to allow obvious message – the confrontation of self and
to assert the rights of the technicos (those who himself to use it as a mirror of the human other, the confusion of the principles of good
respect the rules) in the face of the attacks of condition. His approach means that he ends up and evil, of morality and amorality (Amorales)
the rudos (those who do not respect the rules). questioning  the validity of this tool as a model within a single character – this work is the
His strength  is his mask and the difference  for describing the ways of the world. From this echo of a tradition of ambiguity, the tradition
between him and the superhero is that he is point onwards, we find ourselves far away from of the mask, which has its roots not only in
real, that he actually exists. the world of wrestling. Here, Lucha Libre would Mexico with El Santo, Zorro, and the Aztec and
  seem to be, for Amorales, no more than a prop, Olmec civilizations but also in pre-Colombian
Carlos Amorales imbibes this reality, using a mask which emphasizes the ambiguity of his civilization or in the masks of ancient Greek
it as the basis for work which varies in form approach. He  plays at removing play for its tragedy.
from video to performance and real-life primary function: “rehearsing  the seriousness  
documentaries. The last of these seems to have of life on the stage of unreality while relieving Traditionally, the mask is a primitive cult form
been the justification for inviting Superbarrio to it to all burdens…”. 4 He returns play to reality and one of the ageless props of human play.
come to Amsterdam in 1998: interview in local of the world, while undemining a mimetic and Even in its making, the mask is a cult act which
television, “full-dress” walkabout in rundown playful view of play. must be located in the context of respect for
areas, and meetings with local associations   esoteric knowledge transmitted by tradition.
who did not speak his language. The process Behind a light-hearted image – the artist who 5  The process of manufacturing cult props is
verged on cruelty. Having been stripped of his has worked with Superbarrio – Carlos Amorales also a full part of the essence of the cult.
local context, Superbarrio lost his credibility, seems to locate his thinking at the heart of a  
reminding us more of Christopher Reeves wider and more complex analysis of play and It should be pointed out that wheter or not he is
than Clark Kent. In return, the project itself of its relationship with the world. This process aware of these concepts developed by Eugene
acquired the flavor of a bitter critique of well- of reflection modifies the structure of play Fink, Carlos Amorales has made detailed
meaning multiculturalism without any real piece by piece, setting the stage for ontological records of the production of his mask by a
meaning: no more than an unmasked human questions. former wrestler who had been initiated in the
comedy.  Paradoxically, it is precisely  this   tradition.
bathos which gives Carlos Amoales’ Project its The video Amorales Interim (1997) therefore  
real critical significance. presents a wrestling match in which the two If the fundamental intention of the human
  opponents, with their heads together in a slow- mask is not to fool others, not to seem to be
In this way Lucha Libre  and its rites become motion choreographed movement, push each something one is not, but to present a multiple
critical tools of revelation. Carlos Amorales, other backwards and fowards inside and outside appearance of oneself, then what is the
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significance of a simplified mask with an effigy down the distinction between play and ordinary NOTES:
of oneself ? Under these circumstances, when life, working as children do without shame or 1 – In 1998, Jesse Ventura, a former wrestler known as Jesse
does a prop like this become ambiguous  or a guilty conscience. The identical masks of “The Body” Ventura, was elected governor of Minnesota, being
equivocal? There is the loss of the self in the Amorales devastate the distinction between trnsformed in the process into Jesse “The Mind” Ventura. For
self, the forgetting of the ability to lose oneself the serious things of life on the one hand and further details, see www.jesseventura.com.
in play in all innocence. There is the “serious” and play as the theater of inauthenticity on 2 – See Milos Forman’s film, Man on the Moon.
awareness, or the fear that the person who is the other. In doing so, the artist encourages 3 – Ralf Rugoff, Circus Americanus, Verso, 1995.
playing is not thinking and that the person us to adopt an aesthetic approach to life as 4 – Eugen Fink, Le jeu comme symbole du monde. Paris: Les
who is thinking is not playing, the fear of being much as he suggest a critical attitude towards Éditions de Minuit, 1966, p. 81.
unable to reconcile oneself with the world contemporary, alienating forms of spectacle. 5 - Eugen Fink, Le jeu comme symbole du monde. Paris: Les
beyond all moral judgements. Amorales’ work produces a different dimension Éditions de Minuit, 1966, p. 165.
  of time, an ambiguous space which is difficult 6 – Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method: Play as the clue
Perhaps we are seeing the awareness that “self- to pinpoint. He creates a form for an interim in to ontological explanation. New York: Continuum, 1999.
representation is the true nature of play”? 6 which the subject can rediscover freedom. 7 – In this respect, see Jean-Charles Masséra, “La leçon de
  Stains”, in the catalogue Pierre Huyghe . The third memory,
In that case, Amorales is questioning concepts   Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou; Chicago: Renaissance Society,
of representation, of mimesis. He is what he Chicago.
plays, and what he represents merges with
reality. In the space between the game, its
rules (wrestlin/Lucha Libre), its subject, its
content (symbolic or moral value) and the
transformation to which they are subjected by
the imperfect imitation of Carlos Amorales, the
world emerges and play become the genuine
agent of revelation for the tragedy and the
comedy of human existence. However, at
an even deeper level, Amorales puts forward
questions about the possibility of creating a
critical form or of returning to reality a form
of production which is perhaps becoming
exhausted in the closed field of art.
 
In making the attempt, he also tries to break

‘-los Amorales’ , artist book by Carlos Amorales


and Linda van Deursen (editors),2001 Amsterdam,
NL. Published by Artimo and the Migros
Museum, Zurich.
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Gallery Exploits the lowest denominator of workforces in the
by Cuauhtémoc Medina periphery, while also disempowering unions and
  labour movements in the developed world.
Flames Maquiladora (2001-2002) by Carlos Finally, they represent the ultimate in depend-
Amorales is a practical parody of the utopian able economic systems. These duty-free sweat-
ideologies of participatory aesthetics which, shops, normally operating under extremely
still today, are perceived as the ultimate artistic advantageous customs and taxation rules, are in
libertarian gesture; the overcoming of all the fact extremely easy to transfer between coun-
alienation that goes with the idea of art as a tries and continents. Once salaries or workers’
purely aesthetic and speculative activity. Rather rights start becoming less attractive in places like
tan inviting the audience to test a simulacrum Mexico, due, in part, to the very same process
of freedom, Flames Maquiladora is a twisted of economic integration, maquiladoras can be
representation of contemporary labour of ex- easily dismantled and sent to other capitalist
ploitation. heavens like China and Indonesia, where a mix-
  ture of authoritarian regimes and crony capital-
The work is in fact an economic image that ism keeps on ensuring the First World consumer
takes its cue from from the myriad manufactur- the lowest possible labour costs.
ing sweatshops (known as maquiladoras) that  
were established during the 1990’s along the Amorales’ work invite the audience to take
Mexico/US border to take advantage of cheap part in the production of wrestling boots which
mexican labour. Although  maquiladoras are will later be exhibited and sold as art objects.
not peculiar to Mexico, they embody  the neo- Whilst seeming to provide the audience with the
colonial infrastructure that is essential to the release from the passivity of artistic consump-
management of profit under the so-called ‘new tion, in fact the artist is exploiting the audience
economy’. Maquiladoras are factories located as labourers. The gallery is turned into a work-
south of the border where low-paid  work- shop  where one is compelled to contribute to
ers  are employed to assemble commodities the dissemination of a transcultural fantasy:
produced by the almighty American industry. creating the performance tool for an action base
In that sense, they are the perfect neo-liberal on Mexican popular free wrestling, by which
dream: they allow corporations to take advan- a performer can impersonate a devil of desire,
tage of global inequality without the disadvan- dance and pleasure.
tages  of emigration and  cultural integration.  
They serve to integrate the most heavily auto- This time, First World art cognoscenti are put to
mated sectors of the First World economy to work for the profit of a Third World artist.

‘We are the World’, exhibition catalogue for


the Dutch Pavillion, 50th Biennale di Venezia,
Italy. 2003 Amsterdam, NL. Published by Artimo.
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Pleased To Meet You varies per country, city and situation. The Dev-
by Lisette Smitts ils’ Dance is not meant to be understood from
the perspective of current artistic practices con-
cerning participation – even though the work
  Flames Maquiladora, in which the audience is
In 1969 the Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica talked invited to  sew together shoe components into
about the ‘impossibility of experiences in gal- a product, incorporates a somewhat cynical
leries and museums.’ * Oiticica had the roman- commentary  on the contemporary ‘participa-
tic idea of becoming one with music and the tion art’ of his Dutch colleagues. Nor is it about
universo through the medium of something like participation with a socio-critical intention.
dance (‘the samba is the biggest public improvi- Amorales no longer needs to attack class differ-
sation in the whole world’), something in which ence between high and low,  from the assump-
he saw even the possibility of eradicating class, tion that (the culture of) the general public in
hierarchic and intellectual differences, even if Western ‘experience’ economy has been eman-
just in the moment of ecstasy. The Brazil of the cipated already.
mid-1960s is the social and cultural reality in  
which Oiticica’s ‘anti-bourgeois aesthetic’, his The Devils’ Dance: no intellectual argumenta-
‘poetry of the street’ is set. tion, no critique, note even controlled beauty.
  What this teaser primarily challenges is ‘re-
The mexican artist Carlos Amorales first spectability’, and especially the ‘high’ respect-
danced his Devils’ Dance with visitors to the ability of the art world. This is the repetitive,
Berlin Biennale in 2001. Further performances uncontrolled ecstasy of the dance floor; this is
followed in Zurich, New York, London and anonymous reduction to a number of beats per
Rotterdam. It is always the artist himself who minute. Forget the good intentions, sham or not.
dances –dressed in his devil’s costume of a shiny
black tracksuit, red leather boxing shoes, red *Guy Brett in the catalogue for the travel-
gloves and mask- and who challenges his audi- ling retrospective Hélio Oiticica, published by
ence, swept up and carried along by the raw Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis and Witte de
electrobeats of Silverio: ‘This time you are safe With center for contemporary art, Rotterdam,
with us.’ The dawn of the 21st century: Amo- 1992.
rales’ ‘poetry of the street’ is a spectacle that
walks the thin line between passion and ag-
gression, a vulgar surrender that perplexes and
embarrasses  the art audience – to what extent

‘We are the World’, exhibition catalogue for


the Dutch Pavillion, 50th Biennale di Venezia,
Italy. 2003 Amsterdam, NL. Published by Artimo.
37
Liquid Archive pants and clunky shoes, morphing into trees. “high” and “low” art spanning epochs and
by Raphaela Platow Their legs appear in various stabilizing positions cultures. Warburg proposed a view of artistic
to support the weight of the branches. Another creativity as a single, uninterrupted stream.
category, létera (letter), includes the letters of Early in his career, he formulated ideas on the
the alphabet. The lines of each letter look as conjunction of aesthetic and symbolic images
though they were created by a wide brush that in apparently unrelated cultures. From 1924
runs out of black paint, the strokes shifting from until his death in 1929, he used 1,300 pictures
crisp into tenuous traces (létera A.ai [letter A.ai] to create the Mnemosyne Atlas (atlases being a
through létera L.ai [letter L.ai]). The archive kind of archive themselves), a history of cre-
also contains numerous versions of skulls, spider ative production without words. In this “atlas
For the past decade, Carlos Amorales has gener- webs, airplanes, wolves, monkeys, splashes, of memory,” Warburg painstakingly arranged
ated vector line drawings by tracing existing geometric patterns, birds, and innumerable and rearranged visual documents from multiple
images onto his computer. The technique is human-animal hybrids catalogued as monsters, realms of imageryreproductions of works of
comparable to rotoscoping in early animation, as well as a single pregnant woman. Collecting art or their details, advertisements, newspaper
in which the changing positions of live-action and redrawing images from a broad range of clippings, and personal photographsto visually
figures in film are drawn as they appear frame- sources within a single category allows the artist describe how expressive forms have appeared in
by-frame. The artist fluidly records and reinter- to study their differences and assess their poten- different cultural regions at the same time and
prets imagery and patterns he extracts from his tial. Amorales’s taxonomy encompasses animals have been passed on within the history of rep-
own photographs, in magazines, publications and humans engaged with each other and im- resentation. Mnemosyne does not present works
on art and cultural history, and on the Internet. ages informed by familiar animal behavior stud- as individual examples of an artist’s or cultural
Dissecting the compositions of the found im- ies, such as those examining the postures wolves region’s aspirations or style, but as expressive
agery, he transforms selected shapes into black assume while attacking, playing, threatening, or facts that sustain their validity through time.
silhouettes, saving each element as a file in a pinning each other down in a fight (lobos pelea With the relationships Warburg established
graphic computer program. 01.ai [wolves fight 01.ai] to lobos pelea 07.ai among the images, he traced the energy of cur-
[wolves fight 07.ai–07.ai]). rent imagery back to archaic figures, showing
Amorales has established a number of catego- the survival of the ancient world in the contem-
ries for his growing digital archive. The árbol In a visual language related to the fantastic and porary.1 For example, he overlaid the image of
(tree) works that run numerically from 01 árbol. to horror, Amorales treats themes that pertain an ecstatic maenad on the shadow of a woman
ai (01 tree.ai) to 06 árbol.ai (06 tree.ai) show the to experiences shared by disparate cultures. golfer who has just completed a swing in order
silhouettes of sturdy trunks and intricate, reach- His culturally broad approach is reminiscent to show their matching postures and shapes; a
ing branches. árboles humanos 01.ai (human of that of early-twentieth-century German art zeppelin hovering over Hamburg is a modern
trees 01.ai) to árboles humanos 05.ai (human historian Aby Warburg, who departed from emblem of ancient themes of harnessed energy
trees 05.ai) depict human figures, dressed in the code of his academic field by comparing and spanned distances.2
38
humans are juxtaposed with undulating bands head hesitantly lifted, the figure expresses the
Amorales presents a contemporary counterpart of stripes, splashes, and geometric zigzag pat- tension of preparing to energetically push
to Warburg’s open-ended investigation into terns. Using cutting-edge computer technology, forward and at the same time bowing down,
images that have long-forgotten meanings. The the artist and his animation team pay tribute to pulling away from action. Elsewhere airplanes,
artist’s fantastic, terror-filled visual language too the history of traditional animation. Not only deprived of their glistening volumetric surfaces
has reverberations across cultures and centuries. does their working method parallel that of early and branding marks, are symbols of both tech-
The Liquid Archive provides the source mate- animation, with one person creating the charac- nological invention and the horror of our time,
rial for most of his works since the late 1990s– ters and others animating them, but the artist’s as they crash into trees, penetrate a body from
–drawing collages, record covers, stickers, video aesthetic is informed by animation’s ancestor, every direction like arrows (an updated Saint
animations and other projection-based works, the backlit shadow puppet show, and early prac- Sebastian), and swarm in the skies to form an
installations, sculptures, and, recently, perfor- titioners, such as Lotte Reiniger, whose exquisite opaque black cloud.
mances. His twofold interest in the archive is storytelling involved the animation of intricate
in “creating the language and afterwards creat- cut-out paper silhouettes. From the beginnings of animation, an im-
ing the possibilities for this language to express portant issue has been its questioning of “the
itself.”3 While Amorales is the creator of his In Amorales’s black silhouettes, expression is received knowledges which govern the physical
archive, he invites others to play an integral role derived entirely from the contours of the body, laws and normative socio cultural orthodoxies
in its creation, use, and interpretation. In so do- whether human, animal, natural, technologi- of the ‘real world [resulting in] an ontologi-
ing, he acknowledges that any language is a col- cal, or symbolic. By eliminating the tactility cal equivalence in the animation text which
lective tool, and shows his desire that the items of texture, the psychological power of facial recognizes the co-existent parity of perceived
in his archive be recognized and understood by expressions, and the emotional resonance of orthodoxies in representing the literal world and
others. color, the artist focuses on the instant legibility the expression of dream states, memory and
of shape. Not only does he create icons, but thus fragmentary practice of ‘thought’ itself.’”4
Amorales’s studio in the middle of Mexico City he captures figures in a particular movement, Drawn motion pictures support Amorales’s
is a bright space bustling with young designers gesture, or posture that we recognize from our endeavor to “create stories that [do not] refer
working on computers or handling a laser-cut- own life experiences––how we are in our own to the real world, that [are not] tangible as live
ting machine. Under Amorales’s direction, they bodies and what we see in others. Amorales thus arts are.” The Liquid Archive and the works
consult the archive to produce computer anima- reintroduces the emotional and psychological created from it are informed by, and toy with,
tions or collages that combine two-dimensional content that his technique might appear to have the clichés of gothic culture or what has been
elements digitally manipulated and entered into eliminated. Crouching on all fours, a naked fe- called “art-horror,”5 a genre that germinated
open, haunting narratives that unfold over time. male is caught in an intermediate state, getting around the time of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Images of skull-headed monkeys, racing wolves, ready for a sprint while submissively drawing (1818). As in the horror genre, the artist’s mon-
fields filled with blackbirds stirred up by an back. Her back slightly rounded, toes tucked sters conflate the animate and the inanimate,
enigmatic red female figure, and crawling furred under, legs bent, arms tentatively planted, and or different species, and place the quality of
39
liminality––in the form of a creature between sex, fantasies, rumors, and ambushes. It was a solidity of their contingencies––he provides for
human and machine or animal and human––as very important world for me, which made me ongoing shifts in meaning.
the prime referent for fear. The artist extends visualize a lot of stories of mythical, unknown
the dissolution of boundaries in the horror story things, and I feel it became a treasure in my The openness of Amorales’s archive is not
to the themes of nature and culture, the com- imagination.”7 Amorales bases his narratives on reserved for people who use its elements as is.
plete and the incomplete (formless), the known the oral histories of his cultural environment, in Items from the archive have been turned into
and the amorphous. His environments are often which information is immediately subjectivized, three-dimensional sculptures and costumes.
ambiguous fence-lined suburbs, swamps, park- has many permutations, and undergoes con- Amorales takes the premise of reinterpretation
ing lots, and woods. Yet, while he employs what tinual reinterpretation. The artist later realized further by engaging people from fields other
we are used to being horrified by––the figures that “many of the stories the older guys told us than visual art. He has invited musicians to
and locations that naturally lie outside of or are were really stories from the media,” stories that compose scores and improvisations for his ani-
displaced by cultural categories—he neutral- were swiftly and successfully subsumed into a mations, dancers to interact with his sculptures
izes the mechanisms of horror with abstract Mexican framework of understanding. through performative movements (Spider Gal-
patterns that bring to mind the so-called visual axy, 2007), and fortune tellers to interpret the
music of early-twentieth-century artists Viking For his drawing collages of laser-cut black pa- archive imagery printed onto tarot cards (Why
Eggeling and Hans Richter. per, the artist uses his archive to generate a vast Fear the Future?, 2005). For the CDs that music
number of image arrangements that can be infi- publisher EMI produces and distributes for the
Amorales upholds the premise of German phi- nitely reorganized. A skull, for example, com- subcultural record label Nuevo Ricos––which
losopher Walter Benjamin that “half the art of bines with the body of a spider looming over Amorales founded with Julian Lede in 2003––
storytelling is that of keeping it free from all ex- her prey of three crashed airplanes in a space the artist uses covers that were pirated by others
planations during the telling.”6 The artist’s nar- delineated by stripes that gradually become less from the originals he first put into circulation.
ratives do not have clearly defined beginnings dense toward the top of the picture to give the
and ends, and gain their associative power by impression of a landscape (From The Bad Sleep In his most recent drawings, Amorales elimi-
the assembly of elements from diverse sources. Well 02, 2007). The same skull, multiplied, is nates the black interior of the silhouette to
His storytelling impulse is rooted in his upbring- shown from different angles in From The Bad focus on the outlines, making visible the nature
ing in Mexico City: “There’s something that I Sleep Well 11 (2004). With the sockets of the of his vector graphics drawing program. The
experienced, as a child and adolescent in Mexi- eyes colored bright red, they are suspended small, dotted rectangles in the digital render-
co. We lived in a working class district, so in the from the branches of a tree like gloomy lan- ings indicate the changes in direction that create
afternoon we used to meet to play football and terns around a black raven with its head turned the intricate contours of Amorales’s figures,
when we’d finished, all of us kids were there alertly to the left. In his decision to invite others symbols, patterns, and letters. In some cases,
and the brothers came from work. Instead of to freely access the Liquid Archive, Amorales the outline of fur or the meandering branches
going straight home they used to stay with us for subverts the notion of authorship. By recombin- of an opulent tree is nothing more than a dense
a while to chat and tell us stories ranging from ing his elements––and hence questioning the amalgamation of dots produced by the rapid
40
movement of the cursor back and forth. In screen at a particular point and time. The com- assigning them a fixed place within a larger
others, the image almost disappears, its fine puter turns visual images into musical composi- frame of reference and understanding into a
lines and the few dots limning the skulls or the tions that are complex and often disharmonic. fluid working method that results in a malleable
birds fading into the background. It is the dots Psicofonias is a tacit homage to Conlon Nancar- entity that creates meaning in myriad and un-
of the computer program that, ultimately, give row (1912–1997), a highly original U.S.–born foreseen ways.
Amorales’s elements their shapes and speak to composer who spent most of his life in Mexico,
how—that is, through which language—they best known for his compositions for the player
are created. This step in the artist’s process piano. Nancarrow turned to the mechanical
could be considered one that, like the interpre- instrument so that he could compose tempo
tive approach discussed earlier, underscores relationships and polyrhythms that were too
the translation of one language into another. complex for a human to play, just as Amorales
Through a binary calculation, the movement relies on the computer to produce drawings that
of the cursor creates a digital image. In his lat- can be musically interpreted by a pianist but not
est projection piece, Psicofonias (Player Piano), precisely rendered.
Amorales brings the notion of translation even
more explicitly to the fore by asking what his Wikipedia’s entry for “liquid” begins: “A liquid’s
drawings would sound like if they were trans- shape is confined to, not determined by, the
formed into musical scores. Since music re- container it fills. That is to say, liquid particles
sembles film in transpiring over time, Amorales (normally molecules or clusters of molecules)
pursued this inquiry through moving images. are free to move about the volume.”8 Amo-
In Psicofonias, illuminated dot markers define rales’s Liquid Archive has a similar modus, in
the archive forms, which enter from the top of which the system itself and all its categories are
a dark projection screen and slowly descend defined, but the elements of the digital images
to reveal their identities. When the dots hit the are open to change and can be integrated into
bottom of the screen, they trigger sounds. In the various contexts and channels of distribution;
case of the player piano, notes are represented they can be interpreted by different people, used
by tiny perforations on rolls of paper that are in varying media, and translated into languages
activated and moved along by a suction system. other than the visual. The artist’s inventory goes
In Amorales’s piece, the computer-generated beyond the conventional understanding of an
music program and the descending images are archive as a systematic collection of historical
synchronized in real time through a mathemati- records or other information concerning par-
cal process that translates each dot into a musi- ticular areas of life and knowledge. Amorales
cal note as it hits the bottom of the projection turns a rigid system of collecting items and

Carlos Amorales: Discarded Spider’,


exhibition catalogue. Contemporary Arts Center,
Cincinnati, USA. 2008. Published by Veenman
Publishers (NL).
41
Black Cloud Aftermath a partir de fotografías del entorno urbano, la ción del archivo, lo traducen y lo expanden en
por Graciela Speranza iconografía popular, el comic, los video-juegos, nuevos formatos, o en proyectos inclasificables
el graffiti o Internet, y después rotoscopiadas, como el sello Nuevos ricos, una pequeña em-
reinterpretadas y archivadas como vocabulario presa discográfica que durante años se dedicó
lábil de un lenguaje personal. Con ese reperto- a la producción, difusión y consumo de música
rio expandible, Amorales recompuso el mundo independiente en la web.
en paisajes sombríos, en los que las figuras del
archivo se recrean en nuevas formas, se hibri- Basta seguir la cadena vertiginosa de copias,
dan, se combinan, y cobran vida migrando de versiones y perversiones que puso en marcha
un medio a otro, de la imagen virtual al óleo, la discográfica para comprobar la potenciali-
el dibujo, la animación, la escultura o la insta- dad expansiva del archivo en las redes virtu-
En el principio hay una polilla. La silueta negra lación. Aviones y lobos feroces se recortan bajo ales y reales del mundo globalizado. Nuevos
de una polilla, en realidad, clasificada como la luz de la luna llena en ciudades desiertas, ca- Ricos empezó por ofrecer descargas gratuitas
apamea.ai versión número 12 en la carpeta laveras con lentes rojos penden de árboles des- de discos de nuevas bandas latinoamericanas
moths, incluida a su vez en la carpeta insects nudos, figuras inciertas mitad-humanas mitad- y europeas ilustrados con imágenes surgidas
que, junto con las carpetas birds, dog, elephants, animales y bandadas de pájaros negros pueblan del archivo líquido, un arco musical inclas-
horses, lobos, monkeys, sharks y snakes, con- paisajes postapocalípticos: un espejo negro, a ificable y transcultural que va del neogótico
forma el rubro 03. Animales. Los otros rubros veces negrísimo, de las ciudades de hoy (Dark infantil a la “cumbia lunática y experimental”.
del archivo son: abecedario, abstractas, arboles, Mirror se llamó una muestra de 2007), que sin La gigantesca industria pirata de México se
aviones, blood drippings, cabello, elementos embargo vibra con la potencia seductora de encargó muy pronto de reproducirlos con sus
urbanos, explosiones, fondos, goteados, manos, las siluetas compactas y los colores netos. En la correspondientes versiones pirateadas de las
mapamundi, máscaras, monitos, nodos, objetos, fluidez proverbial del archivo, el arte de Amo- gráficas originales, difundirlos entre un público
palabras, personas, rorschach, skulls, y spider rales encontró un lenguaje maleable con el que sin acceso a medios digitales, y convertirlos en
web. La clasificación disparatada no corre- dinamizar las tensiones de la pertenencia cul- hits en muchos casos, al punto de despertar el
sponde al idioma analítico de John Wilkins, ni a tural (Amorales se crió en una familia de artistas interés de importantes sellos como EMI, que
la enciclopedia china Emporio celestial de cono- mexicanos, pero se instaló desde muy joven en produjeron algunos de los discos en ediciones
cimientos benévolos, ni al Instituto Bibliográfico Ámsterdam y hasta representó a Holanda en la legales. Después, invirtiendo la dirección de
de Bruselas, ni a ninguna de las invenciones Bienal de Venecia antes de volver a México) y los flujos económicos y culturales del mercado
estrafalarias con las que Borges demostró que un modelo topológico, inmaterial y apropiable, por medio de una ingeniosa “piratería de la
no hay clasificación del universo que no sea ar- capaz de desplegarse con la imaginación pero piratería”, Nuevos Ricos usó las gráficas piratas
bitraria y conjetural, sino al archivo líquido del también con las intervenciones y traducciones (“las nuevas portadas tenían modificaciones que
artista mexicano Carlos Amorales, que desde de otros artistas, y atravesar incluso los límites me atrevo a calificar como mejoras a mis pro-
fines de los 90 clasifica el universo en un rep- del arte. En su estudio del DF, diseñadores pios originales”, asegura Amorales), y capitalizó
ertorio de cientos de figuras virtuales, creadas gráficos y músicos colaboran en la construc- el toque “cool” de las copias pirateadas para
42
introducirlas en el sofisticado mercado pro- la, en la que el insomnio o la inminencia de una del narcotráfico.i Antes de que el sentido las
gresista europeo, comprándolas al por mayor y muerte próxima dispararon la imagen de una fije en un tiempo y un espacio, sin embargo, las
exportándolas, resarciéndose así de las pérdidas nube de mariposas nocturnas que cubrían el mariposas se sacuden el polvo de las metáforas y
económicas resultantes del saqueo pirata. Las techo del cuarto. De vuelta en el DF, la imagen siguen su marcha.
distinciones cada vez más difusas entre origi- prosperó en las figuras líquidas del archivo. La Volátil por naturaleza, la nube no tardó en
nales y copias, autoridad y apropiación, cre- visión fugaz de la duermevela se tradujo en abandonar el estudio, atravesar una de las fron-
ación y post-producción, copycontrol y copyleft miles de mariposas que desde la silueta virtual teras más candentes de la geografía americana,
estaban en el centro mismo del circuito abierto de la polilla se desplegaron en un abanico de y entrar a la escena del arte contemporáneo
por Nuevos ricos, utopía virtual de un arte de formas variadas, se materializaron en decenas en la muestra Black Cloud, montada en Nueva
la dispersión y la distribución, el uso y la tra- de cartulinas negras recortadas y plegadas, y se York en el otoño de 2007. Amorales cubrió el
ducción, sin localización geográfica precisa ni multiplicaron durante ocho meses hasta cubrir cubo blanco de la galería Yvon Lambert con
marcas identitarias nacionales, que sin embargo las paredes blancas del estudio. Fue la primera 25.000 mariposas nocturnas de 36 formatos
reunía indiscriminadamente música de aquí y metamorfosis de la nube –su momento clásico distintos, y hasta invadió las oficinas, ignorando
de allá, se nutría de las peculiaridades estéticas, en la ontología de la creación- y el primer las distinciones institucionales entre espacio
culturales y económicas de una empresa local, desplazamiento de sentidos múltiples: de la administrativo y salas de exhibición, burlando
y hasta conseguía invertir la dirección clásica de imagen mental disparada por una experien- incluso la jactancia con que los galeristas exhi-
los intercambios entre la periferia y los centros. cia íntima a la liquidez gráfica del archivo, del ben un par de obras elegidas de sus artistas más
Pero conviene volver a la polilla, punto de ámbito privado de la casa familiar en el norte cotizados como trofeos privados fuera de las sa-
partida de un periplo más sinuoso por las redes de México al taller del artista en el DF, de la las. En vistas al recorrido futuro de la nube, fue
de la cultura global, una verdadera plaga negra imagen virtual plana a la materialidad tridimen- una transgresión menor. Ese mismo año Black
con la que el arte de Amorales atravesó todo sional de la instalación en el estudio, de la me- Cloud viajó hacia el sur, al Moore Space de Mi-
tipo de fronteras, hasta convertirse en una táfora arraigada en la cercanía de la muerte al ami, justo a tiempo para los fastos mercantiles
entidad flotante, proteica, espectral. La obra imán de referencias y la deriva del sentido en la de la feria Art Basel, y en la primavera del año
en cuestión, Black Cloud Aftermath, escapa a obra consumada. Una amenaza sombría vibra siguiente volvió al norte, para invadir el Phila-
cualquier definición convencional del arte para en el avance obstinado de las polillas (un video delphia Museum of Art, donde no solo cubrió
convertirse en un puro trayecto, el recorrido for- de banda sonora ominosa registra la invasión), pasillos centrales y áreas de acceso, sino que
tuito de una obra, la historia de su errancia y su pero el significado cierto se escurre en la mar- se coló en algunas salas y entabló imprevistos
dispersión; una obra sin género y, en términos cha. ¿Aleteo fúnebre? ¿Belleza terminal? ¿Es- diálogos con los Mondrians y Duchamps que el
literales, sin autor. pejismos del apocalipsis? Vienen a la mente las museo atesora en Filadelfia. Se diría por las fo-
diez plagas de Egipto con sus ecos bíblicos de tos que con Mondrian el diálogo fue breve pero
En el recuento de Amorales, la historia emp- advertencia y castigo, pero estamos en México intenso y versó sobre el color, la geometría, y la
ieza a fines de 2006, durante un viaje al norte a comienzos del siglo XXI, y al devaneo fugaz contundencia de las formas netas; con Duch-
de México para despedirse de su abuela o, más del sentido más le sientan otras plagas contem- amp en cambio, el intercambio fue más nutrido,
precisamente, una noche en la casa de la abue- poráneas, como el desempleo masivo o las redes una conversación animada sobre la reproduc-
ción, las copias, la agonía lenta pero firme del autor. Con la invasión apoteótica de Murcia, que extendió la marcha de la nube y la llevó a 43
autor que, por algún motivo, quedó aleteando la nube negra completó el circuito áureo de la atravesar todo tipo de fronteras, geográficas, dis-
en el aire. Fue una especie de desvío voluntario obra en la era del arte global: de la imaginación ciplinarias y materiales, con total independen-
de la nube, un remanso, como si algunas obras del artista al estudio, de ahí a la galería presti- cia del consentimiento del autor: vestidos con
del siglo XX la hubiesen arrestado por un giosa, luego a la feria, más tarde al museo y por estampados de mariposas negras de Diane Von
momento de la marcha ciega hacia un futuro fin a la colección privada. O, en estrictos térmi- Furstenberg, modelos exclusivos con mariposas
sombrío, y la invitaran al diálogo con el arte del nos geográficos: del norte de México al DF, del negras de Dolce & Gabbana, empapelados con
pasado, en una suerte de intercambio gratuito DF a los Estados Unidos, de Estados Unidos a mariposas negras à la Warhol en las vidrieras
o de homenaje, antes de que la ley del mercado Europa. La coincidencia feliz de tema y forma, de la tienda, modelos populares con mariposas
la condenara a reclusión forzada en un espacio se diría, amplió el arco del recorrido: la volatili- negras para los más diversos públicos -para
privado suntuoso, la casa de un coleccionista, dad de las mariposas y la potencialidad invasora jovencitas y señoras, para el mercado asiático y
destino previsible de cualquier obra que brilla de la plaga encontraron su traducción perfecta para “gorditas”- y hasta una remera en la popu-
en el arte de hoy. Black Cloud se permitió sin en una instalación liviana y portátil, adaptable larísima versión de Dickies a doce dólares. De
embargo un último trayecto voluntario, un viaje a cualquier espacio. Pero, ¿cómo leer la mar- Diane Von Furstenberg a Dickies, las mariposas
transoceánico, antes de recluirse en la colección cha sostenida de la nube negra por los espacios negras cubrieron el arco completo del mercado
privada. En 2009 sobrevoló el Atlántico y fue blanquísimos del arte contemporáneo? ¿Qué de la moda en versiones para todos los gustos y
a parar a Murcia, España, a la Sala de Veróni- final podría estar presagiando, que el arte del bolsillos. Y más: agotado el circuito de la prenda
cas, un espacio de arte contemporáneo alojado siglo XX, profuso en fines y relatos terminales, exterior, la nube se ciñó al cuerpo femenino y
en una iglesia conventual del siglo XVIII, en no hubiese anticipado ya? reapareció en exclusivos sets de ropa interior de
donde las mariposas nocturnas cubrieron las Dolce & Gabbana y Victoria’s Secret, en corpi-
naves barrocas, desde las capillas laterales y A modo de respuesta provisoria o clave, Amo- ños, tangas, medias de seda y, por fin, eternizán-
los balconcitos a las altas bóvedas. De México rales recibió una imagen curiosa enviada por dose en la piel, en una galería variada de tatu-
a la “madre patria”, tienta pensar mirando un curador amigo, sorprendido por la aparición ajes de piernas y brazos. De Dior a Dickies y de
las imágenes de la instalación, la plaga negra de la nube en un espacio insospechado: la casa Dolce & Gabbana a la piel, la nube se aplanó
invirtió el recorrido de Hernán Cortés con un matriz de Dior Homme de París cubierta de literalmente en el mundo del pret-à-porter y
eco de las extrañas apariciones en el cielo en las mariposas negras casi idénticas a las suyas, el consumo: la sombra ominosa de la plaga se
que los aztecas vieron presagios de la llegada motivo promocional de la presentación de la esfumó entre las maripositas inofensivas del
del conquistador español y, con justicia poética colección de invierno de 2008, “Dior chasse animal print o en el inconformismo dark light
centenaria, hizo llegar a la iglesia reciclada un les papillons”. De la migración de las maripo- de los tatuajes.
avatar oscuro del oro de Moctezuma, cuyo pa- sas a la meca de la alta costura parisina, por
radero, a pesar de las matanzas, sitios y torturas, supuesto, Amorales no tenía ni noticias. Fue Hasta aquí, los avatares conocidos de la nube
Cortés nunca descubrió. La Sala de Verónicas, solo el comienzo de una serie imparable de o al menos los que el artista, convertido en
en cualquier caso, fue el último destino de las copias, versiones y traducciones de Black Cloud sabueso virtual, alcanzó a rastrear en Internet.
mariposas en el itinerario consentido por el a los espacios y formatos más impensados, En el inesperado aftermath de Black Cloud, el
arte de Amorales entró en su dimensión más nalidad, y disparaba una vez más las preguntas apropiadas y apropiables, que hizo “piratería de 44
paradojal. La obra, surgida del archivo líquido, que trastornaron el arte del siglo XX: ¿Dónde la piratería” y que incluso cambió su nombre
acabó por independizarse por completo del está el original y dónde las copias? ¿Dónde está por un seudónimo (fraguado con la inicial del
artista y, como por un efecto boomerang, fue el autor? apellido paterno, Aguirre, y el apellido materno,
saqueada espectacularmente por la piratería del El Afermath de Black Cloud, sin embargo, Morales), acabó por perder cualquier rastro de
diseño internacional. ¿Plagio? ¿Robo? ¿Apro- invita a pensar otras respuestas en la economía identidad local, perder su nombre original y
piación? Que la cultura y el arte contemporá- inmaterial de la red. La obra de la era de la hasta su nombre fraguado, en la cadena desau-
neos tienden a abolir la propiedad en un nuevo reproductibilidad técnica enloquece en la era torizada de copias de Black Cloud dispersa en
“comunismo de las formas” no es novedad.ii El de la ontología clónica y se abisma en el site (in) la red global.v Del Amorales-autor-de-la-nube
mismo Amorales creó su archivo con imágenes specificity de la reproductibilidad electrónica.iii solo quedó un relato, una secuencia lineal de
apropiadas y hasta incorporó la copia pirata La diferencia infinitesimal entre copias apar- imágenes arrestadas de la red según la lógica ya
en la cadena productiva de la disquera Nuevos entemente idénticas que Duchamp investigó en vencida de la lectura del texto, una road movie
Ricos. Pero, ¿cabe equiparar la apropiación del la noción de “infraleve” y Borges ilustró en su en los caminos laberínticos del hipertexto. Es
arte que redirecciona viejas formas en nuevos “Pierre Menard, autor del Quijote” se com- su memento mori del relato y del autor en la
usos y la piratería discográfica mexicana que se plica en el tiempo sin tiempo de la web, puro era digital, su meditación celebratoria y a la vez
apropia de bienes culturales y los redirecciona flujo espectral de e-imágenes, por definición nostálgica de la nueva economía global del arte
a los consumidores informales, a la piratería efímeras, ubicuas, desindividuadas, infinitas, y las e-imágenes. Burlador burlado, él mismo
industrial de grandes firmas del diseño que se que se suceden sin ninguna secuencia lineal. va contando la historia por el mundo con un
apropia de una obra artística y la redirecciona El intervalo entre las copias, crucial en el re- power point de imágenes, como una reencar-
a la esfera del lucro y el consumo? En el reino lato de Borges y en la noción de Duchamp, se nación del siglo XXI del narrador popular.
sin ley de la piratería, ¿existen el bien y el mal? evapora en el espacio sin espacio y sin tiempo No sorprende por lo tanto que la historia que
¿Hay héroes y villanos? ¿Hay crimen y castigo? de la comunidad virtual, como se evaporan empieza en el norte de México termine o vuelva
¿Quién arbitra el comunismo de las formas? los protocolos de la propiedad y la autoridad. a empezar en un libro, o más precisamente en
Antes de que alcanzara a formularse estas pre- El mundo, como en el cuento borgiano, es la imagen impresa en un libro, que Amorales
guntas, Amorales encontró una imagen todavía fatalmente Tlön, un universo en el que “no recuperó por azar dos años más tarde. Cuando
más perturbadora en el aleph de la web: una existe el concepto de plagio” y “todas las obras el Aftermath parecía haber quedado duch-
nube de mariposas negras casi idéntica a la suya son de un solo autor, que es intemporal y es ampianamente inacabado en la abundancia
instalada en una biblioteca, obra de una artista anónimo.”iv El archivo líquido del que surgió inconsumible de Internet, su mujer descubrió
australiana, Jayne Dyer, exhibida en la Univer- la mariposa es apenas una sinécdoque artesanal una foto y un fragmento dedicado a las polillas
sidad Lingnan de Hong Kong en 2007, casi en de un archivo inconmensurable más arbitrario y leyendo Austerlitz, la última y gran novela de W.
la misma fecha de la primera versión de Black más conjetural. Y más: Amorales, que entró en G. Sebald, que Amorales recordó haber leído
Cloud. La simultaneidad de las instalaciones la escena del arte oculto tras las máscaras de los poco antes de que la imagen apareciera en el
no solo descartaba el plagio sino que volvía a luchadores de su Amorales vs. Amorales, que techo de la casa familiar. En la página 96 de la
poner en entredicho la noción misma de origi- clasificó el universo en un archivo de imágenes edición de Austerlitz en español, junto a la foto
45
de una polilla que parece un close-up de Black
Cloud, se lee:

A pesar de no haberme dedicado luego a la


historia natural, dijo Austerlitz, muchas de las
observaciones botánicas y zoológicas del tío
abuelo Alphonso se me han quedado en la
memoria. Hace sólo unos días consulté el pasaje
de Darwin, que me mostró una vez, donde se
describe una bandada de mariposas volando sin
interrupción durante varias horas a diez millas
de la costa suramericana, en la que era impo-
sible, incluso con el catalejo, encontrar un trozo
de cielo vacío entre las tambaleantes mariposas.

vi

El azar del reencuentro con un origen posible


de la nube le regaló a Amorales un final para
la historia, e inspiró un objeto capaz de aunar
el hallazgo y la creación, como los hrönires del
Tlön de Borges, “hijos casuales de la distracción
y el olvido”. Él mismo fabricó dos ejemplares
de Austerlitz, un libro de artista conveniente-
mente clonado, un atlas de imágenes que
cuenta el Aftermath de su (?) Black Cloud. En
el libro de tapas negras con el nombre de otro
en letras plateadas, su relato de la nube negra se
cierra y, como en las Mil y una noches, vuelve
a empezar. Si cabe la paradoja, es su obra más
autobiográfica y más personal.

‘Atlas portátil de América Latina’


By Graciela Speranza.
2012, published by Ed.Anagrama.
Barcelona, Spain.
46
Amorales’ claim Amorales asserted himself as someone who spect that he came to be called a dandy. People
by Adrian Notz turns himself into an artwork: He asked a tailor did so by relying on anecdotes, which had be-
of Lucha Libre masks to manufacture him a come myths in the course of time.
portrait of himself in leather. That way, Amo-
rales turned the term Amorales into the object It is only the dandy’s assertion that creates him
Amorales, an object that is able to exists as a as a person creating himself in society. Amo-
work of art separate from the artist Amorales. rales worked in the same way. By presenting
He thus illustrated his speech act in an object, himself as a dandy wrestler with mask and suit
instrumentalising Amorales so that other people he drew on this secret history of the dandy and
wearing the mask could also be Amorales. After evoked the desire for dandies in contemporary
subjecting Amorales the citizen to a form of society. It is also a feature of Lucha Libre fights
self-denial, he did the same to the artist, that is, that the audience determines the wrestlers, as
Carlos Amorales’ first artistic act was to claim Amorales the subject and author. In its func- well as the outcome of the fight by their degree
his identity as an artist. Carlos Amorales did so tion as a tool for hiding and deceiving the mask of support. When Amorales had Amorales
at the beginning of his career by calling him- managed to keep the artist’s self-denial in the fight Amorales he produced a paradox situa-
self Carlos Amorales and creating the artist of background. The artist then played with this tion, in which the audience could only side for
this name. Carlos Amorales the citizen created uncertainty quite consciously, asking people to Amorales and confirm him as a winner and
Carlos Amorales the artist, and, in doing so, take part in discussions and lectures as Amo- hero, one way or the other. The usual dialectic
attained a first level of self-assertion by estab- rales. He kept doing so until there was consider- between Technicos and Rudos, that is good
lishing his own interests or identifying traits able confusion as to Amorales’ identity, where- and evil, was abolished, as Amorales combined
vis-à-vis a greater whole – the greater whole of after he would pursue this even further. First, he both sides in a single person. The audience was
art. Amorales self-assertion as an artist therefore had Amorales perform as a Lucha Libre wres- brought into some sort of feedback loop and
corresponds to the self-denial of Amorales the tler, then he had several Amorales masks made kept producing Amorales, again and again,
citizen. Within the system of art, the citizen so that Amorales could fight against Amorales. raising insistent expectations that craved for the
stopped existing. When we say that Carlos Amo- In this form of self-assertion, Amorales always satisfaction of the dandyesque feeling of ulti-
rales’ first act was to claim to be an artist, we re- performed in his suit, as a dandy wrestler, for mate and excessive intoxication in an absolute
fer to more than a mere change from citizen to also the dandy has to claim his own identity. decadence.
artist; we refer, first and foremost, to the artist’s The dandy asserts himself in society, and society The Mexican prejudice, the cultural context
first step in the system of art, when in a speech asserts the dandy. George Brummel, the first into which Amorales had placed himself with
act he proclaimed “I am Carlos Amorales“ and dandy as we know him, never called himself his mask and the fights, trying to write his own
thus said that he was an artist. a dandy, and no word or term apart from his text, absorbed him and Amorales became part
name and his attitude would describe him as of it. In the same way as Amorales brought
In order to clarify this first stage of self-as- what he was. If anything, his contemporaries Lucha Libre fights to the level of art Amorales
sertion, of being the artist Carlos Amorales, called him a “beau” and it was only in retro- in turn was brought to the level of Lucha Libre
and thus Mexican prejudices. So, Amorales the form of his so-called “Liquid Archive”. As author to some extent. Particularly interesting in47
satisfied both “l’art bourgeois”, which panders many dandies before him, such as Lord Byron this context are the works that were not deliber-
to the pressures of bourgeois society, and “l’art or Oscar Wilde, he became an ecrivain-dandy ately reproduced but pirated.
social”, whose realistic depictions address social – a “writer-dandy“ – although the context of
issues. Or, in other words, Amorales was de- Amorales’ text was not literature. The counter- Amorales clarified this phenomenon by launch-
voured by the demons he had created. story of the ecrivain-dandy Amorales was ing the label Nuevos Ricos with musician Silver-
written with symbols collected as “Liquid io. Nuevos Ricos was a label for contemporary
With Amorales’ dandy wrestlers cancelling each Archive”. There must be about 4000 symbols in electronic music from South America, whose
other out self-abandonment had reached a third Liquid Archive by now. They are symbols from CDs, concerts and merchandising products
level. As a true dandy, also this very dandy could an everyday, global and, in this sense, middle instigated a new movement drawing thousands
only draw the consequences and assert him- class and social cultural context, predicated on of fans to concerts, especially in South America
self as the personification of what society had Amorales’ claims. Lucha Libre masks, dandy but Mexico in particular, imparting to the audi-
created: the devil. Amorales became the devil Amorales, women, playboy bunnies and pre- ence the feeling of being”Nuevos Ricos“. Here
personified, and let him dance. Hispanic masks have all found entry into the ar- Amorales applied a different sort of assertion.
In a very consequent manner he went through chive, as have window stickers shaped like birds, He observed a trend in society and used Nuevos
the various stages from citizen to artist and wolves, moths and abstract patterns. All these Ricos to make a precise statement at the right
became, as Hugo Ball described in his text “Der elementary images of myths, collective symbols, time in order to suggest a whole movement.
Künstler und die Zeitkrankheit “, an exorcist. word plays, distinct forms and anecdotes, which Amorales took up a trend in music and used his
Ball, too, builds up three parallel stages: Soma, Amorales called source images, were brought label to give the musicians of this subculture a
Psyche and Pneuma. That is, the body, the me- onto the same level with each other, that is, fan community. At the same time he equipped
dium he thinks appropriate for the citizen, then reduced to black outlines or so-called skeleton all products of the label with the signs of Liquid
psyche, the artist’s medium, and spirit, the exor- images. From these skeleton images sprang new, Archive, thereby publishing parts of his claim
cist’s medium. The exorcist is not only someone discrete artworks and thus images. This change via mass media, as CDs, pins, T-shirts, stickers,
who eliminates demons but also someone who from vocabulary to expression corresponds to posters, banners and so on. The distribution of
can move between the here and the beyond, the constellation described above where the art- these products, however, was not large enough
between psyche and spirit. Amorales became an ist postulated himself as Amorales, the art work. to satisfy demand so that pirated copies ap-
exorcist and brought the devil himself onto the Here, too, we can observe how one claim leads peared on the black market. Amorales collected
stage. to another when the assertion “Liquid Archive” these copies and distributed them as official
asserts another work, and an independent ele- products of the label. Ghost images became
With this, Amorales established himself in the ment is integrated into the context of a greater source images and were reborn as actual and
dimension of spiritual facts and created a blind whole. Amorales goes one step further still when official works or, to put it differently, the text
spot, an autonomous field of “l’art pour l’art”, he claims the reproductions of his works to became the context that asserted the contextual-
which eschews all social functions. Furthermore, be part of a work’s life cycle, describing them ised text as independent text again.
Amorales also created his own discourse in as ghost images, thus giving up his control as A further manifestation of these ghost images
48
is that some fans dressed themselves as nouveau terialises as Liquid Archive on different levels, moths then moved to the gallery where they
riches, complete with suit, tie and bowler hat, Carlos Amorales becomes the object of the took over exhibition spaces and offices alike.
evoking the image of the dandy. work. In description and presentation his work From the gallery the swarm of moth moved to
is undecidable, just as with real historical dan- the art fair and from there to the museum, to
The example of the Nuevos Ricos demon- dies. With them, it remains unclear whether it the institutional space, where it occupied the
strated how the cycle of source image, skeleton was social reality that created their formulations spaces between the rooms and the stairwell, but
image, image and ghost image comes full circle or whether historical persons imitated literary also the collection rooms with works from the
and ghost images become source images again. or artistic concepts. In other words, whether Modernist period as if trying to settle in this
Sometimes Amorales lets other subjects, au- dandies did indeed exist or whether people cop- era. The swarm then moved on to the collec-
thors and musicians use the Liquid Archive; ied them after reading about them. Instead of a tors, where it took over their private rooms, and
musicians compose pieces for it, video artists clear causal and chronological relationship there finally occupied the church, the highest level
produce videos, psychologists, anthroposophists, is mutual, elusive interference. It is in exactly within the life cycle of an art work. Parallel to
gallery owners and curators use it economically this mutual but elusive interference that Amo- this, a ghost swarm started to form right after
or art theoretically. Liquid Archive’s discourse rales moves, purporting Amorales’ existence. the swarm of moths had materialised in the
is consistent and, as a closed system, has its own gallery and was occupying the space of a luxury
rules. This is why all subjects that want to be In order to better understand this let us look fashion boutique. The moths became decora-
in it adopt the rules of Liquid Archive accord- at how Amorales asserts his work Moths in tive elements on clothes and thus reached the
ing to the principles of system theory. Here we presentations. He presents it as an anecdote, international cat walks. They determined the
find a further dimension of Amorales’ claim, a formulating it in the original sense of anecdotes designs of fashion labels and moved from be-
system created by Amorales. In order to illus- as an counter-story or a “secret histoire”. Today ing mere decorations and accessories to being
trate the function of these systems we can again we understand anecdotes also to be entertain- emblazoned on fabrics. The moths invaded the
take the dandy as a point of reference. In the ing plays on words, fascinating stories, everyday fabrics of the Haute Couture and were present-
literature about the dandy the people describing events that can be told in only a few sentences ed on cocktail dresses worn by stars parading
dandies usually become dandies themselves, be- following a clear narrative structure. In this on the red carpet. From there they entered mass
cause they cannot resist claiming to be dandies, sense Amorales tells the anecdote of the moths production so that people could buy them as
even if only indirectly in their absolute empathy as follows: In a dream he saw the image of a patterns on inexpensive shirts on the Internet.
for the object to be described. This object to room full of moths. This image was so strong The moths even got under the clothes, invaded
be descibed becomes a strong subject and takes that he felt the urge to turn it into art. From lingerie, underwear and tights and did not even
over the actual subject. The subjects wanting to black paper he created tens of thousands of stop short of claiming people’s skin in the form
look into Amorales’ claim and use his vocabu- moths and stuck them onto the walls, ceilings, of tattoos. It appeared as if the moths were try-
lary become objects of Amorales. Even Carlos windows and doors of his studio until they had ing to enter people’s consciousness via the skin.
Amorales is an object of Amorales, as we saw completely invaded the room so that Amorales This caused Amorales to look again and try and
previously. But even from this point of view of and his team were forced to leave. The object find the source of his dream.
Amorales’ claim, in which the text clearly ma- of the moths had become a strong subject. The
He realised that at the time when his first swarm with respect to asserting something. Each time art. Because of the museum’s context and the 49
of moths invaded the gallery, a female artist was someone talks about an object they also postu- anniversary celebrating Mexican identity, he
sending out a second swarm of moths at the late the object’s identity. As the description of studied the museum’s collection of pre-Hispanic
other end of the world. This realisation brought the object also shapes the object, this means art and its archive and realised that the col-
Amorales to the above mentioned point where that everything we understand to belong to lection followed no clearly recognisable order.
clear causal and chronological relationships the historical canon, to be part of our cultural Although the individual pieces of the collec-
give way to mutual but elusive interferenence. identity or to be the truth is in fact a construct. tion did have titles and numbers, there was no
Describing the phenomenon of the moths, Here, the function of the anecdote, a small and discernible causal and chronological relation-
Amorales pinpoints the origin of the image in inofficial story, is to question the big story. ship between them. As a matter of fact, the
a sort of collective unconscious and argues that With the moths Amorales entered a world of structure of the collection was but a claim, a
also the image of his moths did not appear out images that confronted him with the question conjecture. This is arguably true for all collec-
of nothing but originated from an old photo- of how these images assert themselves. In order tions but becomes especially clear in the Mexi-
graph in a book he had been reading at the time to follow this up he turned to his own world of can collections of pre-Hispanic objects due to
of his dream. It was from this book, apparently, images and analysed the function archives. He their relatively young history. For this reason
that the moth fluttered into his visual memory. came to the conclusion that they had a similar Amorales used short texts – thoughts, observa-
The moth awakened in him a consciousness of function as his Liquid Archive. Archives consist tions and instructions that deconstructed the
a subconscious cultural context, which, as a sub- of more or less arbitrary source images that collection’s claim by enabling completely new
ject, he had created, or which might have used make up a collection of skeleton images. Their ways of looking at things – in order to have the
him as an object. With this knowledge – that the function is to write history with these skeleton visitors of the exhibition think about this. The
moths satisfied a widespread unconscious desire images, that is, to create the image and the sentences erased the meaning of the text written
– he turned it into an object again, bringing it ghost images of a story or, to put it more simply, by the collection so that one could start afresh.
into a controllable framework and creating nu- archives determine and assert history. From here Amorales demonstrated this in two adjacent
merous pictures he was able to sell at an art fair it is only a small step to argue that historiogra- rooms, where he had placed one of Mexico’s
within a few hours. phy postulates history and therefore a society’s national symbols, an eagle’s head, but in a large
Hearing such a fantastic anecdote one cannot identity. quantity, one draped neatly on top of the other.
help but wonder about the nature of the rela- Amorales worked with a cultural historical This image was reminiscent of two things: a site
tion between reality and fiction, about what is archive to put this insight into practice. In 2010 of fossils and a graveyard of old statues haunted
true and what is false. This is the wrong ques- Mexico celebrated its one hundred year an- by the shadows of history (rendered obsolete by
tion, however, as Amorales does not lay claim to niversary of the revolution and two hundred the sentences in the previous room) drawn on its
the story being true. Instead, he puts great store years of independence. In this cultural context, walls with faint pencil. As if this was not clear
in the presentation as such, in the talking about which also nourished Liquid Archive’s vocabu- enough, Amorales put a bird, shattered into
the work, what happens to it, how it changed lary of fear, Amorales staged an exhibition in a a multitude of black, glossy pieces, in a dark
from being an object to being a subject. Here cultural historical museum owning one of the room following the two graveyard rooms, which
Amorales addresses a further field of tension biggest archives and collections of pre-Hispanic positively disillusioned and crushed the visitor
50
on a psychological level. There was a ray of their origin as an eccentric space of Liquid the degree of abstraction is very high.
hope in this dark room, however. Although the Archive. They were waste products, scorned The signs became letters to be filled with
collection had been deconstructed and taken shadows, hybrid figurations and shapeless mu- meaning that did not result from their forms.
apart, the hope emanating from the sentences in tants that had no meaning yet, apart from being Amorales, therefore, predicated it as a crypto
the first room was realised in a video. Amorales eccentric rebirths of Liquid Archive. Also in the script, a code. He started to transfer and trans-
took the figures out of the collection, dipped gallery exhibition they occupied an eccentric late existing texts into this alphabet and he had
them in paint thus demythologising them in a space, a fact that was emphasised by their strong the signs in the form of texts assert themselves
sort of primitive founding myth, and returned black contours that set them apart from the as texture. This texture, finally, is the script of
to them their active function as subjects. In the faint graphite lines of the texture on the walls Amorales’ claim, which, as a strong subject, has
video the archaeological stone objects turned of the ghost studio and the transparent perspex started to assert its own language.
into the colourful subjects of a potential mythol- templates of Liquid Archive.
ogy claiming a new Mexican identity.
In order to transfer the self-assertion of this
Shortly before this exhibition Amorales applied new generation of Liquid Archive to the con-
the same process to his own archive for a gal- sequence of Amorales’ claim the shadows were
lery exhibition. Liquid Archive was recreated liberated from their eccentric position on the
from perspex templates so as to assert itself as walls of the gallery and integrated into Liquid
objects and to enable a new way of dealing with Archive in a new studio. Here, they were digi-
the archive. At the same time, studio Amo- talised so as to be better able to handle and
rales was rebuilt in the gallery in its original control them. They, too, were anecdotes of
size. The templates served as tools to cover the Liquid Archive, a hidden text in between the
walls of the ghost studio with pencil drawings, symbols, which tried to assert itself as an in-
giving them a texture consisting of numerous dependent “small” abstract text in the face of
interweaving and overlapping contours of the Liquid Archive’s “big” formal text. Amorales’
symbols of Liquid Archive. The symbols of claim reached a point where it became indepen-
Liquid Archive, or the letters of the vocabulary, dent of obvious systems of reference and could
created a text that manifested itself as texture. exist on an absolute level. Comparable to the
The spaces of this texture – what is said be- development of language and writing, where
tween the lines – were transferred as shadows sounds and gestures were followed by images
onto the walls of the gallery, where they asserted and symbols before being turned into abstract
themselves as new forms and figurations, as a signs, Amorales found an abstract sign language
next generation of Liquid Archive vis-à-vis the for his self-assertion. As it is only rarely possible
old studio shell. Created from Liquid Archive`s to figure out what symbols from Liquid Archive
grey areas and side rooms, one could describe were involved in the formulation of new signs,

Atlántica Magazine, Journal of Art and


Thought # 52, spring-summer 2012.
2012 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, España.
Published by Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno.
Edited by Octavio Zaya.
51
Amorales vs. Amorales explain our contemporary condition than the in the contemporary drama of wrestling much
by Jens Hoffmann media-friendly notion of a multiplicity of races, as it had been through both high and popular
times, lives, and societies. More importantly, this drama in the nineteenth century Gothic tradi-
process of industrialisation is one that has been tion in Europe.
late in coming to Amorales’ native Mexico,
a country, like many of its Latin American Amorales project of course further complicates
neighbours, that sits uncomfortably in a process this trajectory by introducing his own persona
of becoming and simultaneously undoing, a into the fray as well intermingling the other-
partially realised industrialisation that is all the wise quite separate zones of Lucha Libre and
The figure of the hybrid is a fairly constant more painful for its protracted process. the contemporary art performance circuit.
feature in the work of Carlos Amorales. Inter- Amorales produced masks based on his own
estingly, however, unlike the frequent over-use The violent hybrid has been in evidence in face, which fighters in Lucha Libre would wear
of this idea or term in contemporary culture, Amorales work since his best-known series of taking on the moniker ‘Amorales’ to wrestle.
Amorales’ use of the hybrid is not one that works emerged into an international context: Further confusing this identity is the appear-
simply reflects his own personal history (a Mexi- the wrestling-themed project known as Amo- ance of Amorales y Amorales, a duo wearing
can who has spent almost a decade living in rales y Amorales or Invisible Man (My Way). the Amorales masks dressed in business suits
Europe), nor does it refer to the banality of our Lucha Libre, the professional Mexican wres- that wrestle (in a semi-staged fight) Lucha Libre
current cultural condition that is fuelled by the tling association where this work first emerged, fighters while ‘managed’ by a third Amorales
fusion of a variety of cultures and traditions. consists (like most wrestling traditions) in profes- character (this time played by Amorales himself)
Rather, Amorales attraction to this concept sionals who assume different personas for their who remains off-side. The multiple role-playing
emerges from a significantly darker trajectory. performance. This process of identification or (what does Amorales stand for, which is the
He has referred frequently to his interest in the transformation appears to have been what at- ‘original’ Amorales, and to what extent is this
violent clash that occurred during the process of tracted Amorales. He comments on the Lucha an examination of self ?) is reinterpreted when
industrialisation: as a predominantly peasant so- Libre fights, “I realized that the conflict that Amorales transfers this scenario to the art world
ciety was forced into the new routine of urban- was mainly represented is the one between the setting as he has done in Tijuana and San Di-
ism and a variant of exploitation that this new agrarian and the urban world, the spectacle as ego, as part of InSite 2000, and at Tate Mod-
economy entailed. The phantoms, monsters and the representation of the drama of the country ern, London, 2003 among many other museum
terrors of European nineteenth century litera- immigrant to the city. Its transformation from venues. Within this context the relative ‘authen-
ture and popular art—arguably a result of this peasant to industrial worker, it is a form of sub- ticity’ of the wrestling world of Lucha Libre is
drastic transformation—appeals to the artist limation. Therefore half of the characters were then abandoned for a further process of fiction
through its language of integrating (or rather defined as “Rudos” (the rough ones) against or staging: that of the art world performance
the forced coming together) of man, animal “Tecnicos” (the technicians), the rudos were of and the event’s status as art.
and machine. These graphically (in both sense course beast-like.” The process of contempo-
of the word) disturbing images perhaps better rary industrialisation in Mexico is played out Without wishing to over-psychologize this sce-
nario of self-displacement effected by Amorales’ for anti-industry activity of free-downloading of what he refers to as an “image archive.” Rang- 52
piece it is interesting to review Amorales’ own the artists they represent and the development ing from numerous images of airplanes (flying,
comments on his process of alienation through of an artistically-led design for their products), falling, crashing), animals (wolves, birds) and
immigration. When he moved to Europe it was the animation project developed into a central human figures (a pregnant woman) Amorales’
necessary to adapt himself to a more “civilized” part of his recent artistic oeuvre. treatment of this stock of material frequently
environment, he states, “not that I felt myself involves the morphing of one form into anoth-
as a beast, but in some way the expression of He has stated that part of his curiosity for er—animal human hybrids and so forth—such
this culture shock became an interesting issue this digitised realm emerged as reaction to his that his archive becomes entirely fluid, no one
for me. Animal-like humans and humanized involvement in live performance. He has said, image retaining any integrity but rather merg-
animals become logical subjects for creating “I became interested in animation after work- ing ceaselessly with others in the artist’s lexicon.
my characters. It interests me the moment of ing with performance. I wanted to create stories Broken Animals (2006) for example consists of
transformation, the mutation of the self into the that didn’t refer to the real world, that weren’t a double screen projection. To the left there is
other and the way back, when the psychological tangible as live arts are. Performance to me was a constant shot of a classical pianist in perfor-
‘damage’ is done and there is no way back to becoming something mental, something derived mance. To the right the screen is occupied by
the “original” state of mind.” Amorales’ com- from a conceptual point of view that mostly re- Amorales’ relentlessly changing graphics. The
ments suggest that Amorales y Amorales can ferred to the social level of existence. I got tired figure of the airplane, an image that Amorales
almost be viewed as some coming to terms (or of wanting to create a situation through perfor- has identified as signifying more than any other
staged battle perhaps) with his own transforma- mance, document it and finally try to structure image our current time, is seen in a variety of
tion. An alienation from self that is inherently it as a film. I began to lose interest in a one to formations. In flight it suggests that global mo-
part of the process of industrialised society. one relationship with the public; I wanted to bility of our early twenty-first century condition
do my work in a more personal realm, more while in the process of falling (and ultimately
Another well-documented form of hybridity in private.” crashing in a tree) it obviously recalls major
Amorales work is his constant use of collabora- events of the last decade and the consequences
tion and experimentation with different genres The result has been a series of projects that that continue to dramatically affect our political
and realms of cultural production. His studio utilise digital imagery (taken first from a drawn climate. The plane in its variety of appearances
is one fashioned to accommodate not only an source and then altered through a computer stands as a fluid metaphor for many of the
artistic practice for an artist, Carlos Amorales, programme into a three-dimensional form) with qualities and issues of our current global condi-
but also to incorporate the workings of Nuevos a fantastical if not near-mythical sensibility. In tion. Outside of the flight path, on the outskirts
Ricos, an independent record label founded in what appears to be a striking break from the of the airfield, appears a wolf, a manifestation
2003 with musician Julian Lede and designer confrontational live events of Amorales y Amo- perhaps of the threatening promise that the
Andre Pahl and a fairly elaborate animation rales, the starkly graphic images that character- airplane holds. Amorales has stated that the
studio. While the rock label emerged out of ise the artist’s work from the last four years are pregnant female figure who features prominent-
Amorales’ desire to further involve himself with culled from contemporary life as well as his- ly was a direct result of his wife’s own expect-
the music that he enjoyed (as well as allowing torical and popular imagination and stored in ant body but within this context it also suggests
53
the process of flux and transformation of one technical capacity that was built in the studio themselves are shown to change and morph)
image to the next, one figure becoming two. context was in part a reaction to the tactics of and Amorales at once points to the absurdity
The piano strains that accompany this graphic a relational art of the 90s and perhaps also a of our desire for fixity of meaning while mak-
imagery remain oddly calm though somewhat response to the more politically direct actions of ing apparent the constantly changing nature
melancholic, as if the piano player, oblivious other Mexican artists and the type of cultural of interpretation dependent on time, place and
to the disasters taking place on the adjacent questioning that their work entailed. His ambi- context. Hybridity in Amorales work here refers
screen, represents the order in comparison to tion through the group effort of the animation once again to the capacity for fluid images,
the chaos in the next screen. and image archive was to create a technical and states of flux and contamination resulting in a
meaningful complexity in his work that would highly suggestive state.
Just as his earlier work involved the participation resonate beyond the limitations of a local con-
of others, these digital animations have called versation. Hence also the selection of imagery In a recent work, Useless Wonder (2006) Amo-
for a radical change in Amorales manner of that would speak across cultural boundaries and rales has taken the earth, or rather individual
working including a new form of joint effort. reference a contemporary as well as historical continents and land masses, as the starting
The artist has stated how the lengthy and la- consciousness. Animation, arguably one of the point for his animation. These countries are at
bour-intensive activity of animation was in part most pervasive non-linguistic forms of contem- times recognisable forms but gradually break
what appealed to him, he has stated, “it interest- porary communication, presumably offered an apart, reform and merge in a constant state
ed me the amount of time animation requires; ideal visual language with which communicate of unbecoming. Regarding this piece the art-
to make an eight minute animation it took me on this wider level. ist has stated, “The map of the earth and its
about eight months of intensive work, I had to countries drifting away in the ocean and getting
build a team, do a lot of research. I thought it The archive has now been used to generate a mixed seemed a perfect catastrophe in graphic
was very important to slow things up for myself, variety of two dimensional and moving images terms…it reminded me of old stories I have
to engage an intense process of work, para- variously combining and isolating the graphics read about sailors, of them trying to cross the
doxically in a more simple way, by drawing.” he has accumulated. For Dark Mirror (2006) Cape Horn…it was very influential to read
Shifting away from the immediate response of Amorales even handed over this archive of “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym” by Ed-
a live audience towards this drawn out process, images to an animation expert and a musician gar Allen Poe, a fantastic travel from Nantucket
Amorales was also interested in creating a new who makes scores for silent films to make a film to the Antarctica that leads to an uncertain
form of studio environment, perhaps one more from the given elements. In the same exhibition ending full of hallucinatory characters and situ-
closely related to the school rather than the that this collaborative animation was shown, ations. The map in motion seems to summarize
factory, that involved a group of people with Why Fear the Future? (2006) Amorales also in- this for me.” It seems that in the work of Amo-
whom he not only worked on the image and cluded a DVD in which he asked three fortune- rales there can be no fixity, whether in terms of
animation process but also read books, screened tellers in Madrid to interpret the images on the meaning or reality. Even the ground beneath
films, invited speakers, and in general formed tarot cards he had designed using the archive of our feet threatens to become something else, if
an intensive discussion group. Amorales has also imagery from his studio. An absurd process of viewed from the right angle.
suggested that this kind of professionalism and identification takes place (in which the images

Carlos Amorales: Discarded Spider’,


exhibition catalogue. Contemporary Arts Center,
Cincinnati, USA. 2008. Published by Veenman
Publishers (NL).
A Conversation With Carlos Amorales in your three dimensional installations over the years. I reer as an artist. Let’s say that I became known 54
by Hadas Maor recall that while working with you toward the show this as an artist through a paradox: my invented
was the aspect which fascinated me most. surname became known through concealing my
real person in a game where I used anonymity
I trained as a painter in Amsterdam at the as my playing card, like a sort of joker.
Rietveld Academy but as I grew unsatisfied with
my relation with that practice I stopped it and Once I understood that I finished that research
began working with masks as I thought they to continue developing my practice I returned
where means to make art that would allow me to drawing and making images. At the time I
to brake the isolated relation that at the moment had no working space since I had refused one
The following conversation unfolds the underly- painting demanded of me, I wanted to find a because I worked as a performance artist so it
ing principles of the visual language and themes portable image with which I could relate di- became natural to began drawing in the com-
addressed by Amorales’s work over the years rectly to my reality and not only towards paint- puter. As it is very hard and pointless to draw
and on the ways these have evolved through the ing history. In my view masks could function as freely in the computer (at least it was then) what
use of two dimensional images and three di- an “Interface” between myself and the world so I did in fact was to draw over digital photo-
mensional installations subsequently. It was held I started to experiment with social situations in graphs that I had taken myself or found in the
between October and December 2011 following which I used them. This research, that I began Internet. Gradually I realized that these digital
our collaboration on occasion of Amorales’s when at the Rijksakademie in 1996, lead me drawings where “masking” the original images,
solo show at the Herzliya Museum of Contem- gradually to create a fictional character, a per- that these digital silhouettes where in fact a sort
porary Art in 2010. sona like a doppelganger, and then work with of mask form, in conceptual terms, similar to
professional wrestlers. This fictional character, the one I had worked before with. From this
which I named “Amorales”, was a portrait of realization I began to make a series of anima-
me made by a maker of wrestling masks, a mask tion films and other graphic works. Through
that I assambled together with a bureaucrat like developing the animated sequences I began to
gray suit that I bought, as a dandy of sorts. The collect the resulting images and classify them in
character had no history or attributes to himself a digital archive which I figured that by being
but what I understand was a container; a form virtual it had malleable properties. For material-
that could be wearable by others for imperson- izing these figures as works I realized that they
ating it, a surface that could wrap different per- could change form and be adapted to different
sons bodies. The record of this impersonations, conditions as for instance an element as water
- Let’s begin by talking about the relation between your the public and private events, is what became does, therefor I called it “Liquid Archive”.
two dimensional archive of visual images created and the piece, an history of a form of void that
collected since 1999, titled Liquid Archive, and the ways through the seven years that I worked with it be- Beyond the fact of masking, I understood as
in which these forms reappear and manifest themselves came the beginning of my own professional ca- well another important similarity between these
new treatment of digital images and the former plays with the physic rules of real space and artists to concentrate more into the meaning of 55
Amorales mask: more than being signifying im- the virtual one where it was original generated. their art, but a decade later, now as an advisor
ages, allegories, symbols or signs, first of all are Whereas in virtual space there is no gravity and at the Rijksakademie, I had the chance to be in-
tools that could be used to intervene in reality. the figure stands as perfect and emotionless, volved in the process of selection of the new ap-
I became aware of this becuase the wrestlers in reality it falls to the ground, imperfect but plicants and it was shocking to review all these
themselves referred to their mask as part of emotional. works and realize that for most the content was
the work tools, for them it is much more than standardized into what can be called the correct
an attractive image. In fact it is only an image - Could you elaborate a little more on the recurring ten- institutional language of contemporary art: a
for the public, the one that sees the mask from sion between the arbitrary and the premeditated dimen- bit political, a bit documentary, a bit research, a
the outside, not for the one that looks trough it sions in your work process? bit about identity and so on.
from within. In this sense, as a tool is a device
that can be used to produce an item or archive I find that in general using a computer language To me its evident that not only the media and
a task and can be reused many times, I realized demands a very rational approach to making art the formats what has been standardized but
that the digital graphics that I was creating and where most of the steps have to be determined the content and the meaning of the practice
organizing in a series of folders in the com- towards archiving a result: the step from the vir- of making art. The individuality of the artist’s
puter where tools for composing images (and tual model to the real object can be controlled thought and expression has become a rarity:
thoughts) that later I could make public as art in extreme. The problem with this is not so innovation and research onto what is visual
works. much in the rationality of the process but in the language has being gradually underrated, taken
output or the result, which in my opinion has as just formalist. In this way the specificity of
My tridimensional work is made around the become standardized by the democratization of the visual arts has lost it’s uniqueness in relation
idea of the body as formed by fragmented the technology that happened in the last de- to other art forms. I don’t want to make here an
particles, a body that can change its shape when cades. To me it has being important to establish apology for the traditional techniques and sub-
placed in space. For instance the work with the a critique of these output media as I first figured jects for painting and sculpture but I think that
paper moths (Black Cloud) is based in some- out as a student at the Rijksakademie (which it is important to look towards the future and try
thing I once read about ants where it said that was coincidental to the arrival of the first com- to build an artistic language into that direction,
on could consider them as a mass of thousands puters in the institution) that everyone was using even if that the results aren’t safe and one may
or millions of tiny animals cooperating together the same media to make photographs, videos be proven mistaken. I find interesting to look at
or instead as one large amorphous animal made and prints; It all was contained in the same the practice of some artists from the past which
of loose particles that adapts its shape to the ter- screen and paper formats, made with the same incorporated rules in their works that allowed
rain where it is, just as water adopts the shape machines, and the output was therefor decided the use of chance and arbitrariness, or what can
of the vassal where its stored in. In “Dark Mir- by the manufacturer and not by the artists. also be understood as the cruelty of the process’
ror” the broken bird sculpture’s shape is in fact fragility, where it’s result is unexpected. I am
cut by using a spider web’s grid as a slicing tool, One could argue that this systematization of the interested in the working process of artists like
so it is also a fragmented figure. This sculpture formal qualities of the support could allow the Hans Arp with Dada, William S. Burroughs and
Brion Gysin’s collaboration “The Third Mind”, normal logic is to communicate, I try to collapse This energy of change has been forgotten today 56
Asger Jorn’s collaborations with Guy Debrod this communication and I guess as result the and we are living in the worst moment since
like in their publication “Fin de Copenhagen”, post-apocalyptic world is what surfaces. Person- the revolution that happened a century a go.
artists and writers who messed up the rational ally I feel satisfied with an image I make once I More than 50,000 murders in the last five years
process although acknowledge its existence. reach the point where I can’t really understand due to an undeclared war resulting from social
it. That spins my mind and keeps me wonder- unease are the clearest evidence that we are not
I try to use the element of chance trough ing. Some images I made I haven’t been able to going towards building a better place. I believe
involving the participation of others with their decipher their meaning, so they are still intrigu- that those who have the chance should work
thoughts and sensibilities; I establish a working ing to me, other images have become obvious on imagining what comes after this cataclysm.
structure where I give some tools for allowing so I don’t look at them anymore and they just In my older works one can feel how this world
allow the participation of these persons hope- become part of the body of my work, a neces- could look right after the fall, now I am trying
ing that their input will influence the result so it sary step maybe, like a sediment for the rest to to understand and propose how we can rebuild
end ups escaping my control. I believe that the happen. it after that initial shock. I love how the French
art work becomes alive in the moment it reaches revolutionaries declared the year zero after
beyond the control of the artists who made it As for what you mention as states of alienation, they succeeded dethroning the King. Next they
public. By working in collective situations I try of uncertainty, of threat; a post-apocalyptic renamed the months as Vendémiaire, Brumaire,
to accelerate this as much as I possibly can. My world of sorts, It is something that I can’t avoid Frimaire, Nivôse, Pluviôse and so on. Allegories
studio functions in that way. doing as it is how I perceive today’s world. It for a fresh start!
was only until last year that I managed to un-
- Your work often employs familiar images and symbols derstand a way to move out onto a more posi- Maybe we need to acknowledge that we are
but creates various states of alienation, of uncertainty, tive way of thinking as I realized that much of living something like a new revolution, but that
of threat; a post-apocalyptic world of sorts. How do you that apocalyptic feeling was rooted in the expe- is one without ideologies in the classical sense,
work your way between the familiar and the unknown rience I had as a teenager when the earthquake one that its hard to recognize as it escapes the
when constructing your works? happened in Mexico City in 1985. I realized division between the right and the left. I think
that experience had formed not only an ethical that the study of anarchism can become the key
I often need to start from recognizable points, idea but an aesthetical one on me. I understood to understand what is going on, and I don’t only
like hooks that function as to give a first feeling that beyond the earthquake’s destruction a situ- mean the anarchism that is usually associated to
of understanding. Then I twist these images as ation of anarchy resulted that made possible a the left as an ideology -that one from the nine-
to create a void of meaning and an uncertainty new relation between the different sectors of my teen century and the beginning of the twenty
on the viewer. My work follows a graphic tradi- society. The aftermath of the earthquake meant century or that contemporary one from the anti
tion with roots in Dadaism. Although as I said the fall from power of that political establish- globalization movements- but anarchism in the
before I studied painting I had to acknowledge ment that had dominated my country for almost radical sense of a society without State, which
that the logic of the work isn’t painting related a century, and the layering up of the civil soci- compromises the former types but also the free
but graphic related. With the use of media the ety that became the motor for change. market libertarian ones. I think that the catas-
57
trophe that we are living now for instance in my people coming from different backgrounds. story teller.
country, but as also in many others, is the result In a conceptual level it is as well it is as if
of that form of neoliberal radicalism. through involving excess that the images of - In his essay “The Spirit of Terrorism” Jean Baudril-
my digital archive can reach the public world. lard maintains that “the spectacle of terrorism forces
- A dominant feature recurring in your work throughout Sometimes they leak virally trough the Internet the terrorism of spectacle upon us” (in The Spirit of
the years is the dimension of excess: from the ongoing and start their own “life” as they are appropri- Terrorism and Other Essays, trans. Chris Burden, Verso,
culling of images for the Liquid Archive at the begin- ated by others for their own means. The cases 2002, p. 30). According to Baudrillard, the fourth
ning of your career to the multiplicity of elements in later of the pirated record covers that I made origi- world war, whose beginning was marked by 9/11, is no
works such as Black Cloud (2007) or Drifting Star nally for the music label and what happened longer a violent conflict between people, states or ideolo-
(2010). How does this dimension of excess amplify the later when the fashion industry appropriated the gies, but rather a battle of humanity against itself; no
conceptual aspects at the core of your work? motif of the black butterflies are two examples longer a clash between civilizations, but an implosion of
of how my images hooked with the mechanism the system known as Western civilization. How do you
I am interested in excess in relation to the of todays global economy. feel your work regards these ideas?
amount of work that a piece made of multiple
elements can imply. Although I involve industri- Beyond the use of excess as a tactic, for the im- Baudrillard’s statement may be proven right
al process in making my works and mostly they ages to exists in the dimension of a Pop system when we think in the Oslo killings that hap-
aren’t hand made, the making of them implies it is evident that in my case a process of ano- pened last July. The idea of individual fight-
a big effort on those assistants who are involved, nymity is necessary to happen. It is an ironical ing cells which the killer wrote about in his
it is never just a question of pressing a button process, a sort of unspoken exchange, where manifesto “2083: A European Declaration of
and getting out the result. Quantity brings to the images had to continue their existence Independence”, which he put on practice, is
my mind the notion of the amount labor one without my artist signature. This process could an example of a battle of humanity against
can put into something, labor in the sense of the be considered as a form of potlatch that I have itself. In my opinion the killer’s ideas about sav-
repetition of one singe small gesture as means to accept because its coherent with what I had ing the traditional European values (God and
to archive a larger one. Multiplicity, quantity, originally proposed when I started working with The Church) from Islam, multiculturalism and
excess bring to me the feeling of collective ef- the wrestling masks and playing with identity Cultural Marxism are a shallow sign of how
fort. I work in collectives, I never do it just alone and anonymity. It is because of this coherence some European individuals (the killer wrote that
and that is why I often tend to talk about my in the proposition that finally I lost interest on he is not alone in his thoughts and actions) look
work as We; We thought this, We made this, We the authorship of my images, anonymity is the at their own not anymore as members of the
installed this. It sounds odd, but I consider my consequence for existing outside the art world. hegemonic Western civilization but as citizens
work to be the product of a collective which I I am fascinated by this form of silent exchange, in a decadent civilization that is threatened from
stimulate, like the record label or my studio. For of give and take, when the images acquire a life within by the foreign element that was acknowl-
me the level of the effort we put into a piece is of their own, beyond my control. At this point is edged in after the colonial period. In this view
what brings meaning in what we do, it is a very when my work becomes more interesting to me Europe is not any longer a mighty power but
matter of fact level, but is where we connect as as I turn myself into an image detective and a a weakened culture that has to be defended by
the force of what he calls The Knights Templar. always heard from the news. Since childhood - The show at the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary 58
This stance is scary because reveals a deep infe- I remember the conflict between the PLO and Art included three works: Manimal (2005), Dark Mir-
riority complex and it is extremely violent when the Israeli State and I recall feeling touched by ror ( 2008) and Drifting Star ( 2010). For me, these
the text is put on practice. the images that appeared year after year. Al- three works unfold the underlying principles of the visual
Both texts “The Spirit of Terrorism” and though of course Israel’s and Palestine’s war is language and themes addressed in your work over the
“2083: A European Declaration of Inde- a regional problem for us outsiders we can also years. They also reflect the development of your oeuvre as
pendence” seem to crystalize the paranoid consider it as part of our own history since for it manifests the way frequently-changing, sharp, broken
thoughts that, when are put on action like in many generations it has always being present in images in the 2005 video ultimately transform into frag-
the last one, have devastating consequences conversations and discussions and most people ments devoid of formal identity, a state of rupture rather
on actual people. In this respect I consider the has chosen favor for one of either sides. than a narrative description thereof, in the 2010 instal-
visual arts and its performative practices to be lation. It seems the current phase reached in your work
substantially different from the written word as At my arrival I was confronted to realize how is, thus, more principled and abstract. Would you agree
normally they don’t inspire direct action as texts beautiful and cool Tel Aviv and it’s people are, with this reading? Could you perhaps explain a little
do. My work distances itself from such readings like a bubble where nothing wrong is happen- more about the process of abstraction your work has went
about society as it has never been my pretention ing. Of course through meeting with people through in recent years?
to define what is our social reality with my art. it turned evident that life outside the bubble is
Still I acknowledge that in works as “Manimal” something else, something dark. It was inter- I do agree with your reading. Once I started us-
where a pack of wolves take over a city and esting to understand how the darkness of the ing images again I began to explore the worlds
provoke it’s human population to flee away can worlds I touch with my animations, worlds that that interested me the most: gothic literature
convey the apocalyptic feelings written by Bau- relate mostly to classical fiction, could corre- and film, mythology, folk tales, Tarot, Rock
drillard, but my animation intends to propose spond to the real life in Israel. You already had music, XX Century history and so on, a com-
historic associations on its viewer, not to tell him selected “Manimal” which has many readings bination of Fantasy worlds and human his-
or her what its life like in our world. My work is compared to Israel’s history, and “Dark Mir- tory that I related to my private life and began
about how atavisms can survive in our contem- ror” which is a broken bird but also looks like a combining the images into what became a series
porary mentality and I find resources in some- fighter airplane that has been shot down. When of animation films. The resulting elements of
thing older as are folk tales and mythology. reviewing my previous animation films I found this exploration is what gradually formed the
in the image of an explosion the idea to propose Liquid Archive, a collection of all the figures
- How did you come up with the proposal for the new in- you “Drifting Star”, the explosion has obvious that I had created for making such pieces. With
stallation for the show at Herzliya Museum of Contem- references to terrorism, but in the case of the the archive I began to generate more and more
porary Art? In what way was it informed by the political exhibition it is an abstract explosion, an abstract images and use them in many different media.
situation in Israel? by your preliminary visit to Tel Aviv? art piece and to me that is the point I wanted to The point is that once I explored the narrative
touch in the show, of how Israeli and Palestin- form and it’s possible interpretations I became
It was very interesting for me to come to Is- ian history have become an abstraction for us more interested in the formal and structural
rael for the first time as it is a place that I have outside, once again, like a mythical story. qualities of the images and it’s possible uses. I
think I just went through a tautological phase types with these abstract images and programed ity. There is a short story by Jorge Luis Borges 59
in my work where I needed to understand what them in the computer to function as typogra- called “The Garden of Forking Paths” which I
is the Archive in itself as ultimately I consider phies so they could be used for actual writing. like to consider as a parable for my own work as
it a visual language made of digital images, of So far I made a book where an existing text by an artist: on the run one always has to choose
vectors. This phase, as it meant looking inwards Roberto Bolaño is printed in this incomprehen- the right path, right or left, to keep on going. I
that particular visual language, directed me sible language, it is not a translation but a cryp- can’t stop in just one form of making art be-
towards a process of abstraction. tic codification. Then I have been invited by the cause I feel I will be reaching an end and the
Jumex Collection to use half of the space of a one who is following me will catch me.
First I explored them as sculptures so to see the juice tin can to make an art work. I proposed
images as something more than two-dimen- them to write down in my half of the can their - Last year you began working on books written in pencil.
sional images, with the sculptures I entered in usual text but with my own cryptic signs. One Apart from creating a sign language of sorts, similar in
to a phase of fragmentation of which “Drifting side reads as usual while the other one looks as a way to the process of accumulating the images for the
Star” is the most abstract of all. Later I used the written in a foreign language. To me the inter- Liquid Archive at the time, this process stresses even more
wire frame vectorial structures of the archive esting aspect of this project is the popularization the recurrent notion of temporality as these books may be
to translate them as music as happens with of the typographic forms as the company pro- erased, altered. Can you perhaps discuss the personal as
the rolls in a pianola. After bringing the visual duces about one million cans a day and after a well as political aspects of this stance?
language into a musical one I finally trans- month there will be millions distributed through
formed the images of the archive into drawing the whole continent. Then the signs will be dis- Through using written language in my work
tools, that is in physical objects, work tools, and played in little shops, in houses, in the hand and I have become more and more interested in
used them to cover up the walls of my studio mouth of many people who will be put in the books. At my studio we figured out a way to
by overlying the lines on top of each other until situation of trying to understand what the fuck print with pencil, first with the intention to
they became abstract patterns. I took pictures means that strange language. Once people had make drawings, but as soon as we tested the
of those abstractions and filled up some of drank the Juice my next step is the publication printer with text we found something wonder-
the spaces between the lines in black and then included here as an artist’s contribution insert: ful. It is normal to see pencil drawings but to see
I came to another level of forms that looked I am proposing that the signs are the language a written page with a typeface as sharp as the
like organic abstractions that, if seen from far, used by those 50,000 who have being murdered one you are reading now made with graphite
reminded me of a pictographic language. in my country during the last five years and a is fascinating and it became evident that the
half, the language, or the tongue, of the death. machine was made for printing books.
It took me about a year to understand that if I Although the process from figuration towards
ordered the forms as typography I had reached abstraction is classic in art, I consider my own So far I have chosen to print texts that have a
a whole new level in my work where the ele- path towards it to only be a transition but not concrete use, text with a direct consequence in
ments that until then where purely visual sud- an end. My intuition is that it will lead me reality, like theatre plays and law books. Re-
denly could function as text. In my studio we to another level for engaging reality with my cently I made a residency at the MAC/ Val in
replaced the regular alphabetic and numeric work, and I am very interested in that possibil- Vitry-Sur-Seine for which I printed the whole
60
French Civil Code, took it to different lawyers
and asked them to choose a law, erase it and
reflect on the consequences of the disappear-
ance such. In this experience I collaborated with
Philippe Eustachón, a theatre director and actor
and with Julien Devaux behind the camera and
together we made a short film which is called
“Supprimer, Modifier et Préserver”.

I am very happy with the experience. For me it


was important to understand in a sharper way
how a European democracy functions as oppo-
site to the simulation of democracy that exists in
my own country. As well I loved the fact that the
Code Civil is “written by the French People”,
that the author of the book is The People, a
sort of anonymous situation once again. But the
experience was also confronting. There was one
intelligent and experienced lawyer who actu-
ally refused to take part in the project because
he didn’t believe in political art. His refusal
touched me because no matter if I am critical
myself towards the political correctness of most
institutionalized political art, I think and deeply
believe that even if one is just a numb artist one
has the right to make questions, that making
questions about how we are living is something
very important and necessary. The erasable
books are not political propositions for chang-
ing the world or denouncing an injustice, what
would be hypocrite or naïve in today’s world,
they are tools to understand the meaning of
what was written long ago but is still in use, by
erasing and creating a moment of suspension.

Atlántica Magazine, Journal of Art and


Thought # 52, spring-summer 2012.
2012 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, España.
Published by Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno.
Edited by Octavio Zaya.
Joan Jonas and Carlos Amorales: JJ: Now, for many, research is the process. Al- refer to both identities. Later, when I went back 61
A Conversation though this was always important for me, my to Mexico, I was criticized by colleagues who
early work wasn’t as layered in relation to form thought my work was neo-Mexican or pro-Mex-
June 2007, New York and content. The mirror works involved per- ico or something.
ception, the outdoor works the effects of deep
landscape, and my early piece Organic Honey JJ: I thought it was just a stage, a look. And now
was an exploration of the medium of video in your work has changed, and doesn’t have a look
relation to my own persona. What developed that is specifically related to one culture.
from the beginning were performances that re-
lated to other cultures, which is what linked my CA: At that time, Guillermo Gómez Peña was
work with what you were doing. Throughout its a prominent figure in performance and repre-
Joan Jonas: When I met you in Holland in the history, Mexico has had a culture of the fantas- sented a kind of Mexicana, reinforced by his
early ’90s, I noticed that you and other students tic, in the pre-Columbian period as well as the use of pop culture. When I made the Wrestling
at the Rijksakademie were working with ideas present and the recent past. It’s very, very rich in Matches, people asked if I knew him.
of performance that were very familiar to me. I images. And it’s a world in itself. In developing a
was interested in your involvement with the per- narrative you couldn’t avoid this complexity. JJ: I think your work was quite different from
sona and masks, and fascinated by the subject CA: I used the mask organically, as you might a his.
of wrestling. You were bringing Mexican culture camera. I wasn’t thinking of a particular image
to or wanting to portray a superhero or a puppet, CA: My work ultimately is more existential.
Holland, where it looked — I have to use the but rather learning how to work with a medium.
word — exotic. The performance is an expression of the effort JJ: The metaphor of wrestling is really interest-
to understand the material and define its possi- ing. I had a
Carlos Amorales: I was intrigued by how you bilities...something as simple as considering the Tibetan friend who loved wrestling and boxing,
created stories and I liked the way you used rep- difference between your and my, or our, wearing which is even more violent. He thought boxing
etition and the elaboration of a concept rather the mask, and was a perfect metaphor for human relation-
than a script. I noticed that you tended to deal a group wearing it. It was difficult for me ships. Did you think of wrestling that way?
with performances over a period of years. I also because in the early and mid-’90s, I was aware
felt that your work had a tendency of being a foreigner. At that time, five hundred CA: Yes. It also has to do with Dr. Jekyll and
toward complexity, like a labyrinth. In my train- years after the discovery of America, the issue Mr. Hyde as well — the formation of identity.
ing prior to the Rijksakademie, people wanted constantly arose about what it was to be Mexi- It was as if I were an adolescent trying to break
me to start with a simple and straightforward can or Latin American. It was difficult for me to free of my character and form my own persona.
concept, explore it, and then make things diffi- know how much to assimilate and how much to I was having problems expressing that in paint-
cult. So it was new for me to see an artist work- remain ing or sculpture. I found sometimes that my
ing the way you did. Mexican in my work. The mask helped me objective self could not build this character. The
work is about a certain problematic. I tried to preted the character [of “Amorales”] anony- never been there, or have known it only super- 62
make it metaphoric and general, and only later mous. But over time, people began to recognize ficially? In the case of Mexico, there was an
understood that it had associations with Fran- him, and they would approach him in bars, at expectation that we would make something vio-
kenstein and other horror stories. openings, or in the street, and say, “Oh, you’re lent, provocative, critical, and political. I felt my
Amorales!” He started to enjoy it, and then he approach losing power. I wanted to change that,
JJ: How did that happen? I notice the gothic began to to make artwork that would require extended
horror sensibility in the work that you’re doing identify with it. We saw that the mask wasn’t periods of time, concentration, and solitude.
now, and wondered about the transition. necessary anymore, since he was embodying the This refusal to make two hours of work into a
personality. This became a powerful, adventur- social process allowed me to make a big move.
CA: I think it is related to the openness of the ous idea. In 2002, I saw that I had to study technique and
signifiers in the Wrestlers, which do not rep- begin growing again as an artist. During this
resent specific words or struggles or people, JJ: I really like the photographs in this project, period I made animations, which take a lot of
but are more like a game, which led critics to and notice you aren’t doing this kind of photog- time and collaboration. The idea of the studio
widely differing interpretations. One prevailing raphy anymore. as a place to work is again becoming important
view saw them as an expression of the Mexican to me. With Amorales, I felt that the world was
struggle. The work is in fact sort of political, but CA: Photography was a useful element for a my studio, I just needed a laptop and could
the problem is that people tended to see it only certain period of time, but then its identity and travel. Now I’ve gone back to the more old-
in those terms. This was intensity got lost, about two years ago, when my fashioned idea of having a studio and working
not very satisfying because I felt the piece was life changed completely. with assistants.
reduced to representation, which is what I had
always wanted to avoid. And that’s when I had JJ: You’ve said that you really enjoy making JJ: I don’t think it’s old-fashioned. I think that
to start to look for new ways and directions. I an image that takes months to complete. For the problem you’re reacting to still exists. So
had to be honest with myself, as what I’m do- instance, an eight-minute piece might take eight many people are working with the idea of the
ing is very personal. I’m not talking about the months. Could you tell me about that and how documentary, which relates to the recording
world, but about my own world. I connect with it relates to performance? device and a questioning of the real.
those stories, which may have more to do with
Mary Shelley. CA: I saw a lot of performance artists who be- CA: And no one is analyzing the role of the
came essentially hired actors, which gave per- documentary in relation to the work. In perfor-
JJ: I remember when a person who was playing formance a fast-food flavor. The artists became mance, it’s very evident, which is problematic.
you got mixed up with it and wanted to be you. formulaic, flying to some very public exhibition There is the performer, there is the audience,
That was very interesting to me. and thinking what to do en route. Work became and in between there is a group of people film-
very quick and kind of cheap. How can you ing and taping, commenting on the events in
CA: That was Gabriel Lester. At that time, we have react to a situation in another country sophisticated ways. But they’re supposed to not
were determined to keep the person who inter- when you have be there, you’re not supposed to see them.
JJ: Performance is immediately trimmed into a something foreboding about images such as the CA: I first experimented with sound in a couple 63
product, which is taking away from the experi- birds that look like planes. People may have said of videos. By now I have perfected the use of
ence. But transformed, hopefully, into some- that your work was political, and I think that if music. In my animations, for example, it cre-
thing else. not political then it still refers to our ates an atmosphere that makes the whole thing
experience. How do you see that? cohere and run smoothly. It also provokes a very
CA: Yesterday I was doing a performance with strong feeling. When the music is scary it tells
Galia Eibenschutz in which she was dancing CA: This goes to your question about photog- you to be scared.
and I was filming. I had the real performance raphy. When I stopped using film and began
in front of me and was watching it on a small making digital pictures, they were inadequate in JJ: Do you consciously refer to a particular
screen. I felt frustrated. expression and in the way they described depth genre?
and color, but they allowed me to better docu-
JJ: On the other hand, I like to look through ment and record reality. Before, I could take a CA: Not consciously. Because I’m not much of
the camera and see the performance. It’s dif- picture and two weeks later develop a beautiful a musician, I have to find rather than produce
ferent, of course, but it’s nice that you can look or strong image. Now, making the picture feels selections. I once worked with a musician who
at it both through the camera and live. When like relating to the world. I started by picturing plays the piano for silent films. He breathes in
you see it through the lens it is framed, and this my surroundings: the street on which I live, the the images and gives them a musical counter-
changes it. I’m sure you had the same experi- neighborhood, my house. And then I began to part. He contributes to the intensity of the film.
ence. And it’s good to have a record of Galia’s find its gothic elements. I started rotoscoping We were able to work together in an experimen-
dance. to isolate, process, and collage images together. tal way. I’ve also known Julián Léde for many
The bird-plane comes from the silhouette stick- years. When we were teenagers we used to listen
CA: Of course. But then I wonder, why not ers that prevent birds from flying into windows, to music together, which stimulated our imagi-
make it really good, using real film? which I saw at the Central Station in Amster- nations, and we fantasized about nonmusical
JJ: Film is more beautiful than video because dam when I was there. Then I started to look issues like what rock stars wore (at that time we
it’s so crisp and clear. It has depth in a different for images on the Internet. The wolf came from didn’t have rock concerts in Mexico). He fol-
way. an old encyclopedia. I scanned it, and with lows my work, and we have conversations at his
rotoscoping moved it into drawing through a concerts. We work together in a loose way.
CA: Do you think it’s closer to reality? process of filtering. After a while the meaning
of the original source is lost. By putting a skull JJ: You like to perform yourself. You like to
JJ: No. on top of a banal image of a crow, or using it in dance?
CA: Farther? different works, I make it part of my vocabulary.
CA: I used to do the Devil’s Dance. It was not
JJ: It’s another reality. It’s very poetic what you JJ: Can you talk about your involvement with exactly dancing, but resembled rock-concert
do. I wanted to ask you about the shapes in your music? movement, with a lot of drinking and intense
current films — the birds and wolves. There’s living. During the period when Julián and I were
sharing a house, he would perform and shout at CA: I set the conditions, but then I give her a along that scale. I would call performance kind 64
people, provoking and jumping on them. When lot of freedom to do what she wants. I’m not a of behavioral, the carrying out of actions, but
Galia became pregnant, I felt it had to stop or choreographer, and I think it’s important not Martin Scorsese says the same thing about act-
change. In any case, from the beginning, I pre- to direct her, but to provide an opportunity for ing. All these things overlap. When I stepped
ferred directing to performing. It’s really what her to create something new. And then I start to into performance in the ’60s, dance — under
interests me. I like to organize the shape of the relate to it and we find a way. the influence of Alan Kaprow and the danc-
work and encourage acting in others, but not do ers and John Cage — was being redefined as
it myself. JJ: Do you develop the persona together? everyday movement. Performance comes from
several different sources: Dada and the Sur-
JJ: I think that having the experience yourself CA: Yes. I first come up with a graphic image, realists, ritual, Eastern theater, and then, in the
makes you a better director. and we say, it’s going to be a wolf and we’re go- ’60s, happenings and dance. It’s something real,
ing to make a suit; we discuss how the outfit will related to one’s own abilities and desires. For me
CA: In a sense I direct my animation films, look — the gloves, the sash, and so forth. Then it also relates to film and literature — storytell-
though when I’m drawing, I don’t have to ask we ask, how are we going to deal with it? At this ing. Dance is more about invented movement,
other people to act. My strongest connection to point, Galia starts to create movement that sug- which can be, and is, significant. The mind
performance might be when I’m not perform- gests a persona or an animal. conceives abstract movements, based on — and
ing but function as a representative for a perfor- maybe for Yvonne Rainer it came out of —
mance artist. The bands we use are musicians, /// something real. Performance can overlap dance,
but the main thing is that they are performers it can refer to theater. But for me performance
whose shows we can work with. I like the idea Carlos Amorales: Could we discuss what you art, which is something I
of being more of a manager to them. think makes didn’t call it, is usually energized by one person
performance different from theatrical acting or at the center who is directing, making choices
JJ: I noticed that you made a spider web stage. dance? and decisions.

CA: That’s one way I’m trying to return to Joan Jonas: Performance is a word that is too CA: Could you relate practice or performance
the three dimensions of performance after the general. I think of performance, in its pure to some aspect of your childhood? To certain
animation experience. It’s been a bit slow and form, as being conceived and made by one memories? Or particular ways of doing things?
clumsy, but it’s getting there. Recently I’ve been person. Or by more than one, as well, and more
working with Galia on her performance where than likely in the context of the art community. JJ: Most children like to put on little theatrical
she dresses as a wolf. We have done it in a very I’m a visual artist and so the concerns are visual shows, or performances. I would stage events
simple way. I felt that the second time we did it, and structural while being about perception. On with an old friend on a lawn (once in a thun-
it was more fluent and had power. a sliding scale, there’s conceptual performance derstorm) using objects and a trunk full of old
at one end and clothes, for our parents, and I loved doing that.
JJ: How do you work with Galia as a dancer? theater at the other, and performance exists That’s why I’m interested in amateur theater
and the tradition of people doing summer work with one-liners. They take one concept ply tell you about it, or you could see a picture 65
productions in their backyards, expressing the and represent it clearly to the public. You, on of it, and you would be able to grasp it. But
desire to perform, to act out narratives, stories. the other hand, took performance in a different with the kind of work that you and I do, that’s
We’re in a period of turmoil now when, histori- direction, which seemed more complex to me, not possible. A picture is only a little fragment
cally and politically, performance is an impor- perhaps of the piece. You
tant way of representing thoughts or ideas that because I identified with it much more. How have to experience it. The same goes for Ma-
cannot be expressed verbally. you feel about it? rina and Ulay, or for the work Marina’s doing
now. Their work is about duration, about do-
CA: When you choose to work in performance, JJ: The reason I was attracted to performance ing something so long that they collapse. The
you find that there is no training for it. Most in the ’60s was because at that time there wasn’t experience of time is Chris’s too, though being
performance artists go to a regular arts school, so-called installation art. I was making sculp- a visual artist he also makes objects. A lot of
where they might have been painting and then ture, and I couldn’t say everything I wanted people have done some performance but then
one day decide not to paint anymore, but to put with an object. In a performance I could add all simply go on to other forms. When I first started
themselves in front of an audience. Maybe some these other dimensions — sound, movement. out, the audience would
schools have a performance art department? I didn’t use many words in the beginning. But occasionally be only a dozen people, but it’s
I worked with literature, film, and poetry as amazing how they spread the story of the
JJ: There are people who teach performance, sources. I could turn the performance. It was then forgotten for a time,
but I don’t think there are any departments. I structure of poetry into a three-dimensional but now we’re remembering a lot. Everybody’s
teach, say, architecture students at MIT who movement situation, which allowed me to looking back and reconstructing that period.
are doing performance for the first and last make more complex structures, which is what
time. I really enjoy seeing their attempt to say I wanted. I’m not a writer, and couldn’t write CA: Often people think of the ’60s in terms of
something in movement, using drawing, video it down. I had to do it in a nonverbal way by conceptual art and happenings.
projection, or their bodies. Having no training constructing images.
gives them a fresh energy, and they learn how JJ: There were a lot of things going on then —
to think creatively. This discussion is not about CA: I feel the same way. I can’t write a script. there was the whole film world and Jack Smith
defining one medium. It’s about making art. Or Because I don’t write, I find substitutes for it. doing very baroque performances in his fantas-
poetry. Performance is just another medium, Do you think this way of proceeding slows the tic space at midnight on Saturdays. Sometimes
another channel. The process is very similar. I understanding of your work on the part of the when people look back at one person’s practice,
consider my class to be a poetry workshop in a audience? they think that it was going on by itself, isolated
way. from everything that was going on around it.
JJ: I don’t think of it as slowing anything down. And that’s not the way it was.
CA: There is something I’ve noticed about the Something to be learned from conceptual work
period of perfor- mances by Chris Burden or, is that sometimes you don’t have to see a piece CA: You all had interactions.
especially Marina Abramovic and Ulay –– they in order to understand it. Somebody could sim-
66
JJ: Yes. For example, Nam June Paik wasn’t a or follow. Digging for your subject is a step museum, where you walk around and through
giant alone. I’m not saying he wasn’t a wonder- toward not knowing. You need years in order art, or choose to stare at an object for half an
ful artist. Important, really important. But there to know. You can know what you’re moving hour. These situations are common in Japanese
was a context, a world. toward, as if on a map, before you can develop cinema. Mexican art shares something with
and express it. It’s an unclear road. Japanese art, certain ideas of beauty.
CA: Do you think conceptual art has become
the new academy? JJ: One of the shows I liked the best in last JJ: In what way?
two years was at the Japan Society, curated by
JJ: Maybe. Spaces like the Orchard are in part Takashi Murakami and called Little Boy: The CA: Beauty in the prehispanic arts of Mexico
about looking back. Recently Jutta Koether did Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture. My work can be so strong that it is almost cruel. When
recreations of Martha Graham and Isadora has been influenced by Japanese Noh theater, I see Aztec Art, for instance, I feel a strange
Duncan. It was strange, awkward, and fascinat- for instance, and I happen to love manga. In inaccessibility that is extremely beautiful. In old
ing. What do you think about this? working with animation, do you have a relation- Japanese drawings, I respond to the intensity
ship to what’s coming out of Japan? of the colors, and sometimes try to bring it to
CA: I feel ambivalent about it. There is some- my own drawings, making them really detailed
thing very strong in the work of that period, CA: Though I sometimes find it too bold, I do but at the same time rough. I mix brutality and
which has its own aesthetic. It’s beautiful. Hans- not find it uninteresting. What I especially love refinement, making a bridge between the two
Peter Feldmann made books I love. Same with is Japanese cinema. Recently I was watching cultures, and creating another aesthetic.
Marina’s work. Very powerful, very strong. But Hanabi / Love Fireworks by Takeshi Kitano. At
there is also idealization of that period — as if one point a cop who’s been crippled on the job JJ: The Japanese have different styles them-
it were a lost paradise. is looking at a huge display of flowers, and starts selves. You know the movie Ugetsu, where
to imagine painting. There is a really wonderful everyone speaks gutturally? This was the first
JJ: Partly, it was a time when there were fewer moment where you see only painting after foreign art film I saw and it impressed me great-
artists in the art world, and there was a domi- painting, like a slide show of icons, something ly. This style of acting is quite different from the
nant aesthetic. Whether you went to art school I hadn’t seen since the work of the Russian more elegant style of Kabuki.
or not, you didn’t come out with a million director Andrei Tarkovsky at the end of his film
choices. Now we’ve entered a mannerist period, Andrei Rublev. How could you make a com- CA: This richness is beautiful, unexpected, and
looking back, repeating and reusing mercial movie these days and have the audience unexplored. It seems to grow naturally out of a
and recycling ideas. I found Italian mannerism watch still images for five minutes? It’s a very, collective unconsciousness, erupting suddenly
a very interesting intellectual period when I was very powerful statement. At the same time, it’s like a new monster. The monster gets bigger
studying art history. subtle, absolutely unimportant to the content of and eventually becomes popular.
the film and simply the expression of the direc-
CA: I think that the conflicts in my work have tor’s personal desire. It’s contradictory to watch
made it more difficult for people to understand still images in a film, and harder than going to a

Carlos Amorales: Discarded Spider’,


exhibition catalogue. Contemporary Arts Center,
Cincinnati, USA. 2008. Published by Veenman
Publishers (NL).
67
Carlos Amorales Solo Exhibitions Kingdom.
“Discarded Spider”, Cincinnati Art Center, Cincinnati,
Unites States.
“Psicofonias”, with Julian Lede, OPA, Guadalajara,
1970 Mexico City 2012 Mexico.
Lives and works in Mexico City “La Langue des Morts”, Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris, “Four Animations, Five Drawings an a Plague”, Live
France. Cinema, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia ,
United States.
2011 “Dark Mirror”, Irish Museum of Art, Dublin, Ireland.
Education, Residencies and Distinctions “Dirty Songs” Song Eun Art Center, Seoul, Corea.
“Supprimer, modifier et preserver” Mac/Val, Val-De- 2007
1992- 95 Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam (Nether- Marne, France. “FACES” The Moore Space, Miami, United States.
lands) “Los Guerreros”, Cineteca Nacional, Mexico City, “Balck Cloud” Yvon Lambert Gallery, New York, United
1996-97 Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amster- Mexico. States.
dam (Netherlands) “Dark Mirror” Daros Exhibitions, Zurich, Switzerland.
2010 SARF, Smithsonian Artists Research Fellowship, 2010
Washington, USA. “Vivir por fuera de la casa de uno”, Museo Amparo, 2006
2011 Production Residency at Mac/Val, Val-De-Marne, Puebla and MARCO, Monterrey, Mexico. “Carlos Amorales”, MALBA, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
France. “Remix” Palazzo Delle Exposizioni, Rome, Italy. “Spider Web Negative” MK Gallery, Milton Keynes,
2012 Production Residency at the Atelier Calder, Saché, “Afthermath”, Yvon Lambert Gallery, New York, United United Kingdom.
France. States. “Broken Animals”, Galerie Yvon Lambert Paris, France.
“Skeleton Images Tossed by Chance” Highpoint Center “¿Por qué temer al futuro?” MUCA Campus, Mexico
Since 2008 he is advisor of the Rijksakademie van for Printmaking, Minneapolis, United States. City, Mexico.
BeeldenKunsten (Amsterdam), and from 2008 until “Vertical Earthquake”, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amster- “Useless Wonder”, Power Plant, Toronto, Candada.
2011 a member of the National System of Art Creators dam, Netherlands.
(Mexico). “Manimal”, Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, 2005
Herzliya, Israel. “¿Por qué temer al futuro?” Casa de America, Madrid,
“El estudio por la ventana”, Galería Kurimanzutto, Artium, Vitoria-Gasteiz , Spain.
Mexico City, Mexico. “Nuevos Ricos Franchise” Galeria Kurimanzutto/ Annet
“Discarded Spider”, Cornerhouse, Manchester, United Gelink Gallery, ARCO, Madrid, Spain.
Kingdom.
2004
2009 “The Forest” The 59th minute, Creative Time, Times
”Working Class Today… Tomorrow Nuevos Ricos!”, Square, New York, United States.
Kunsthalle Fredericianum, Kassel, Germany. “The Nightlife of a Shadow”, Annet Gelink Gallery,
“Black Cloud”, Espacio de Arte Veronicas, Murcia , Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Spain. “Nuevos Ricos”, in collaboration with Julian Lede, Chiesa
“Discarded Spider”, Orange County Museum, Orange di San Matteo, Associazione Prometeo, Lucca, Italy.
County, United States.
“Broken Animals: Revisited Animations by Carlos Amo- 2003
rales”, Meet Factory, Prague , Czech Republic. “Carlos Amorales” Festival international de nouvelle
“Skeleton Image Constellation”, Cabaret Votaire, Zurich, danse (FIND), Montreal, Canada.
Switzerland. “The Bad sleep well” Galerie Yvon Lambert, New York,
United States.
2008 “Turbulencias” Galeria Enrique Guerrero, Mexico.
“Bird in Hand”, with Praneet Soi, Project 88, Mumbai, “Stage for an Imaginary Friend” Galerie Yvon Lambert,
India. Paris, France.
”Subconscious City” Yvon Lambert, London, United 2002
“Sympathy”, Serge Ziegler Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland Performance Projects 68
“Simpatia por el Diablo”, SKUC, Lubjana, Slovenia including: “Nuevos Ricos = USA” organised by Creative
“Solitario” Le Studio, Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris, 2010 Time, Gavin Brown’s Passerby, New York , United States.
France. VIII SITAC “Blind Spots / Puntos Ciegos”,Teatro Julio and “Nuevos Ricos en Concierto” Casa Encendida,
“Fighting Evil (with style)”, SFU Contemporary Art Mu- Prieto, Mexico City, Mexico. Madrid, Spain.
seum, Tampa, United States. “Titan” NR label presentation, Nacional Financiera,
2009 Mexico City, Mexico.
2001 ”Felix Kubin en Concierto”, Pasaje America y Museo de “Aux Raus in Mexico” Nuevos Ricos, various venues,
“Open”, Galerie Serge Ziegler, Zurich, Switzerland. Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City, Mexico. Mexico City, Mexico.
“Cabaret Amorales”, Migros Museum, Zurich, Switzer- “Capitalismo Barato”, Nuevos Ricos at Lunario, Mexico
land. 2008 City, Mexico.
“Cuerpo sin alma”, Galeria Nina Menocal, Mexico City, “Discarded spider webs”, Performance with Cincinnati
Mexico. Ballet, organized by Cincinnati Art Center, Cincinnati, 2004
United States. “Localismos” Mexico City Downtown Area, Mexico.
2000 “Nuevos Ricos presenta Damo Suzuki”, Pasaje America, “Working Class Today… Mañana Nuevos Ricos!”, KBB,
“Funny 13”, Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Antwerpen, Mexico City, Mexico. Barcelona, Spain.
Belgium “Nuevos Ricos Franchise” Musik Total III, De Appel,
“A World All Too Familiar, new projects by Carlos Amo- 2007 Amsterdam, Netherlands.
rales and Christine Hill”, “Spider Galaxy”, Museo Rufino Tamayo (MX), Performa “Carlos Amorales and Julian Lede play Nuevos Ricos”
CCS Museum, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, Biennial, New York, United States. SonarLab, Sonar, Barcelona, Spain.
New York, United States. “Escultura Social: A New Generation of Art from Mexico
City” Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, United 2003
States. “Amorales vs Amorales, Challenge 2003” Tate and Egg
1999 “Presentation of records by Dick el Demasiado, Silverio Live, Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom.
“Stoplight Pastimes”, Marres Centrum, Maastricht, and Jessy Bulbo”, Nuevos Ricos at La Burbuja, Mexico “Amorales vs Amorales, Challenge 2003” SF MOMA,
Netherlands. City, Mexico. San Francisco, United Kingdom.
“Carlos Amorales” Project room, Museo Carrillo Gil, “Mugre en Concierto”, Residencias Local, Torres Tequ- “Amorales vs Amorales, Challenge 2003” Hebbel The-
Mexico City, Mexico. endama, Bogota, Colombia. atre, Berlin, Germany.
“As Amorales” Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam, Neth- “Noche Blanca” , Presentacion de Nuevos Ricos en “UK is almost OK”, 24-7 Gallery, London, United
erlands. colaboracion con Carlos Amorales, Matadero, Madrid, Kingdom.
Spain. “Devil Dance” Museum Boijmans van Beunigen, Rot-
1998 terdam, Netherlands.
“Amorales Interim” Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Antwer- 2006
pen, Belgium. “Art Perform” Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami, United 2002
States. “Living like a lover with a radar phone”, Project, Dublin,
“Nuevos Ricos vs. New Moldavians” In collaboration Ireland.
with Pavel Braila, Schauspielfrankfurt, Frankfurt, Ger-
many. 2001
“Nuevos Ricos” Apettite, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Amorales vs Amorales, “The Overexcited Body” , Sesc
“Explotando Gueros Tour”, various cities, Mexico. Pompei, Sao Paolo, Brasil.
“Hiperpop” Processos Oberts Festival, Terraza, Spain. Amorales vs Amorales “Insite 2000”, Tijuana, Mexico.
“Transit”, Performance program, Frankfurt Fine Art Fair, Amorales vs Amorales, “Insite 200” San Diego, United
Frankfurt, Germany. States.

2005 2000
“In Gold We Trust” Nuevos Ricos wintertour 2005, New Amorales vs Amorales, “Au dela du spectacle”, Centre
York, Madrid, Barcelona, Geneva, Mexico City, Mexico. Georges Pompidou, Paris, France.
2009 69
“Los Mutantes / 2”, in collaboration with Michael Blum, “Cartografías de arte contemporáneo”, Instituto Coahu- “Mythologies”, Haunch of Venison, London, United
Mexico City streets and El Caracol, Mexico. ilense de Cultura, Saltillo, Mexico. Kindom.
“Proyecto Juarez”, Matadero, Madrid, Spain. “Un Certain Etat du Monde?” Garage, Moscow, Russia.
1999 “DADA in Moscow”, Moscow Biennial, Moscow, Russia. “10 Bienal de la Habana”, Havana, Cuba.
Amorales vs Amorales , “Peace”, Migros Museum, Zur- “Nuit Blanche”, Lycée Jacques Decour, Paris, France. “Trienal Poligráfica de San Juan”, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
ich, Switzerland. “Tiempos Violentos”, Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, “Repeat All”, Museu da Imagem e do Som, São Paulo,
“Los Mutantes / 1”, in collaboration with Joan Jonas, Mexico City, Mexico. Brasil.
Mexico City streets and El Caracol, Mexico. “Lovecraft”, with Rosana Schoijet, Centro Fotografico “El Ser y La Nada”, La Coleccion Jumex, Mexico City,
Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Oaxaca, Mexico. Mexico.
1997 ”This is Sculpture” Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, United
“Amorales in conversation with... Superbarrio”, perfor- 2010 Kingdom.
mance/lecture, De Balie ,W139, RABK, Amsterdam, “The Metamorphosis-International Contemporary Art “Extranjeros en la Cultura”, Fundación Telefónica, Bue-
Netherlands. Exhibition”, Other Gallery Shanghai Space, Shangai, nos Aires, Argentina.
“Amorales Table dance”, W139, Amsterdam, Nether- China. “Acciones Disolventes”, Centro Cultural Cachao, Cara-
lands. “[re]wind 4.0 : Contemporary Video Art, 2000-2009”, cas, Venezuela.
“Niet de kustvlaai”, Interim Performance, Westergas DePauw University Campus, Greencastle, United States. “Slash: Paper under the Knife” Museum of Art and
Fabriek, Amsterdam, Netherlands. “Twilight Of The Idols”, Galería Casado Santapau, Design, New York, United States.
Madrid, Spain. “Eerie & languid- explorations about responsibilities and
“Still/Moving”, The Israel Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel. values” Artisterium, Tbilisi, Georgia.
“Al calor del pensamiento” Daros Latinamerica Collec-
tion at Sala de Arte Ciudad Grupo Santander, Spain. 2008
“Repeat All”, Centro Cultural Chacao de El “Locked in”, Casino Luxembourg, Luxembourg.
Rosal,Venezuela. “Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art”, Barbican Art Gal-
“La Trama se Complica”, MARCO, Monterrey, Mexico. lery, London, United Kingdom.
Group Exhibitions “Modelos para armar. Pensar Latinoamerica desde la “The Rocky Mountain People Show”, Galleria Civica di
Coleccion MUSAC”, MUSAC, León, Spain. Arte Contemporanea, Trento, Italy.
2012 “El Efecto Dracula”, Museo Universitario del Chopo, “La Era de la Discrepancia”, MALBA, Buenos Aires,
“The Deep of the Modern”, Manifesta 9, Genk (BE) Mexico City, Mexico. Argentina.
“Extrangerias”, MUAC, Mexico City, Mexico. “These Gifts Must Always Move”, Sutton Gallery Project “El Norte del Sur”, Galeria Baró Cruz, São Paulo, Brasil.
“Tour d’Horizon- Werke aus der Sammlung” Migros Space, Melbourne, Australia. “Turn and Widen”, 5th Seoul International Media Art
Museum für Gegenwarts Kunst, Zurich (CH) “Touched: Liverpool Biennial”, special project graphic Biennial, Seul, Corea.
“Highpoint Editions- Decade One”, The Minneapolis intervention, Liverpool, United Kingdom. “Distopía”, Museo de Arte, Universidad Nacional de
Institute of Arts, Minneapolis (USA) ”Historias en Movimiento > video. cine. animación. Colombia, Bogota, Colombia.
“Posada bis Alys- Mexikanische Kunst von 1900 bis Sonido”, Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes de Santiago “Mexico Expected Unexpected”, La Maison Rouge,
Heute”, Kunsthaus Zürich (CH) del Estero, Argentina. Paris, France.
“¡Afuera!Arte en Espacios Públicos”, diffrent spaces, “Viva La Muerte!”, Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno,
2011 Cordoba, Argentina. Las Palmas de la Gran Canaria, Spain.
“¡Sin Techo está pelón!”, Festival Internacional Cervan- “Pasions Privadas, Visions Publicas”, MARCO, Vigo,
“Mexico: Expected/Unexpected”, Museum of Contem- tino, Guanajuato, Mexico. Spain.
porary Art San Diego - MCASD La Jolla, La Jolla, CA “Hareng Saur: Ensor and Contemporary Art”, MSK and “The Promised Land”, Chelsea Art Museum, New York,
“Of Bridges and Borders”, CCBA, Buenos Aires, Argen- SMAK, Ghent, Belgium. United States.
tina. “Cauce Critico”, Casa Metropolitana, Mexico City, “Escultura Social: A New Generation of Art from Mexico
“Two Versions of the Imaginary”, Annet Gelink Gallery, Mexico. City”, Alameda Art Museum, San Antonio, United
Amsterdam, Netherlands. States.
“Distant Star”, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, USA. “Apertura de la Nueva Galeria”, Kurimanzutto, Mexico
“Estrella Distante” Kurimanzutto, Mexico City, Mexico. City, Mexico.
“RISK Cinema”, Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, 2006 Arte Contemporanea, Siena, Italy. 70
Florida, United States. “Hot Spots”, International Film Festival Rotterdam, “Exhibicion de Reapertura” Museo Experimental el
“In Transitions: Drift”, National Center for Contempo- Netherlands. ECO, Mexico City, Mexico.
rary Art, Ekaterinburg and Moscow, Russia. “Speed”, Gallery Barbara Thumm, Berlin, Germany. “Nuevos Ricos”, V Bienal de Mercosur, Puerto Alegre,
“Psychedelic”, Southeastern Center for Contemporary “Image Bank for an Everyday Revolutionary Life”, Red Brasil.
Art, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States. Cat, Los Angeles, United States. “The Pantagruel Syndrome”, T3 – Torinotriennale
“41 Salon Nacional de Artistas”, Cali, Colombia. “Anagramme”MAC’s Grand Hornu - Musée des Arts tremusei, Torino, Italy.
“Animales Rotos”, Museo de Arte Moderno, Ciudad de Contemporains, Hornu, Belgium. “Threat Zone”, Triange Project Space, San Antonio,
México, Mexico. “Melancholie. Genie und Wahnsinn in der Kunst”, Neue Texas, United States.
“In Transition Russia 2008”, National Center For Con- Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Neues Museum Weimar, Ger-
temporary Art, Moscow, Russia. many 2004
“Zonas de Riesgo”, Caixa Forum, Barcelona, Spain. “Video installations by Carlos Amorales & Javier Viver”, “Origami Bomb”, Project Room, Annet Gelink Gallery,
Location One, New York, United States. ARCO, Madrid, Spain.
2007 “Videopulsiones. Tecnologias do sentimento”, Galería da “A Fripon, Fripon et demi”, Collection Lambert, Avi-
“Star Power, Museum as Body Electric”, Museum of ESAD, Caldas da Rainha-Portugal, Portugal. gnon, France.
Contemporary Art, Denver, United States. “Los Angeles-Mexico Complejidades y Heterogeneidad”, “Imagine Limerick” EV+A, Limerick, Ireland.
“All About Laughter” Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan. Fundacion / Coleccion Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico. “Moving Outlines” Contemporary Museum, Baltimore,
“Escultura Social: A New Generation of Art from Mexico “Historias Animadas”, Caixa Forum, Barcelona, Sala United States.
City” Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, United Rekalde, Bilbao, Spain; Le Fresnoy, Tourcoing, France. “We Are the World”, Museum Boijmans van Beunigen,
States. “Art Ulimited”, Basel Art Fair, Basel , Switerland. Rotterdam, Netherlands.
“La Era de la Discrepancia”, MUCA, Mexico City, “Human Game” Fondazione Pitti Immagine, Stazione “Don’t call it performance” Centro Andaluz de Arte
Mexico. Leopolda, Florence, Italy. Contemporaneo, Sevilla, Spain; Museo de Barrio, New
“Wherever We Are”, San Francisco Art Institute, San “Propia Vision (Our Vision)” The Queens Museum of York, United States.
Francisco, United States. Modern Art, New York, United States. “Netherlands Film Festival” Central Museum Utrecht,
“We Are Your Future”, Moscow Biennial, Moscow, Rus- “Distor” Museo Carrillo Gil, Mexico City, Mexico. Utrecht, Netherlands.
sia. “Cruce de miradas. Colección Patricia Phelps de Cis- “Dicen que finjo o miento. La ficcion revisada” Central
“Viva Mexico!” Zacheta Art Gallery, Warsaw, Poland. neros” Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, de Arte Guadalajara, Mexico.
“Reconstructions II”, Sudeley Castle, United Kingdom. Mexico. “Amsterdammned” Kunsthallen Braanderigarden, Den-
“Repeat All II”, Matucana 100, Santiago de Chile, Chile. “Esquiador en el fondo de un pozo”, La Coleccion mark
“Proyecto Juarez” Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico. “Contested Fields” Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines,
“Dark Mirror” Montevideo/ TBA, Amsterdam, Nether- “Repeat All”, Totti du Monde, Vevey, Switzerland. United States.
lands. “Wherever we go” Spazio Oberdan, Milan, Italy.
“Viva La Muerte!”, Kunsthalle Wien, Wien, Austria. “SF International Animation Showcase”, SF MOMA, 2003
“Geopoliticas de la Animación”, Centro Andaluz de Arte San Francisco, United States. “We Are the World”, Dutch Pavillion, Venice Biennial,
Contemporáneo, Sevilla, Spain. “The Exotic Journey Ends”, Foksal Fundation, Warsaw, Venice, Italy.
“Theatre of Cruelty”, White Box, New York, United Poland. “Armour” Fort van Asperen, Netherlands.
States. “Version Animée”, Centre pour l’image contemporaine, “Mexico Attack!” Chiesa di San Matteo, Associazione
“New Perspectives in Latin American Art, 1930–2006: Saint-Gervais Genève, Switzerland. Prometeo, Lucca, Italy.
Selections from a Decade of Acquisitions”, Museum of “Danke Schön”, Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem, “M_ARS” Graz Kunstverein, Garz, Austria.
Modern Art, New York, United States. Arnhem, Netherlands. “Independence”, South London Gallery, London, United
“Existencias”, Musac-Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de “Heterotopias” Plataforma 2006, varias sedes, Puebla, Kingdom.
Castilla y León, León, Spain. Mexico. “Mexico Iluminado” Freedman Gallery, Albright College,
“Paperback. Ediciones baratas”, Fundación Luis Seoane, Philadelphia, United States.
Coruna, Spain. 2005
“Zero Interest /Interessi Zero”, Galleria civica de Arte
Contemporanea, Trento, Italy.
“Identità e nomadismo” Palazzo delle Papesse-Centro
2002 1997 71
“Coartadas/ Alibis” Witte de Wit, Rotterdam, Nether- “Dialogues”, W139, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
lands. “Open Ateliers” Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten,
“Telepathic Journeys”, MIT List Art Center, Cambrige, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Mass, United States.
“Mexico City : An Exhibition about the Exchange Rates 1996
of Bodies and Values” PS1, NY (US), Knustwerke, Berlin, “Open Ateliers” Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten,
Germany. Amsterdam, Netherlands.
“20 Million Mexicans can’t be wrong”, South London
Gallery, London, United Kingdom. 1994
“Fuora di Uso”, Pescara, Italy. “Western Non Western”, Smart Project Space, Amster-
“Busan Bienial”, Busan, South Korea. dam, Netherlands.

2001
“Kunst macht Spass” Wolfsburg Museum, Wolfsburg,
Germany.
“The Overexcited Body” Palazzo dell’Arengario, Piazza
del Duomo, Milan, Italy.
Sesc Pompei, Sao Paolo, Brazil.
“We in FLAMES” Berlin Biennial 2, Berlin, Germany.
“House of Games”, Festival a/d Werf, Utrecht, Nether-
lands.
“Sportcult” Apex Art, New York City, United States.
Tiranna Biennial, National Gallery, Albania.

2000
“Makeshift”, ArtPace, San Antonio Texas, United States.
“Unlimited NL-3” De Appel, Amsterdeam, Netherlands.
“Territorios ausentes”, Casa de America, Madrid, Spain.
“Let’s Entertain”, itinerant exhibition: Walker Art Center,
Minneapolis, United States.
“Ideas for Living”, De Paviljoens, Almere, Netherlands.
“Au dela du spectacle” Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris,
France.
“Insite 2000”, San Diego / Tijuana (United States /
Mexico).

1999
“Peace”, Migros Museum, Zurich, Switzerland.

1998
“Not strictly private”, Shed im eisenwerk, Frauenfeld,
Switzerland.
“Faces and Names”, Exedra, Hilversum, Netherlands.