Teresa Margolles: Sobre la sangre
Cecilia Bertoni: round midnight / ritratti
March 25–June 25, 2017
The Associazione Culturale Dello Scompiglio
Tenuta Dello Scompiglio
Via di Vorno, 67
55060 Capannori Lucca
Hours: Thursday–Saturday 2–6pm
T +39 0583 971125
Sobre la sangre
curated by Francesca Guerisoli and Angel Moya Garcia
Teresa Margolles (born Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico, 1963–lives and works in Madrid) is a visual artist, who examines the causes and social consequences of death, destruction and civil war in Mexico. The artist has developed a personal language like an intradiegetic narrator, a witness for the silent subjects and the victims defined as “collateral damage," often unnamed and therefore treated only as a number. Subtle and seductive, her works initially offer a pleasant aesthetic experience, which soon, however, becomes something else.
The exhibition Sobre la sangre is part of this context of gender violence and comprises the touring installation Frazada (La Sombra), the large canvas that lends its title to the exhibition Wila Patjharu / Sobre la sangre and the new site-specific installation Testimone. In its complexity and articulation, the exhibition entirely transforms the architecture of the exhibition space at Scompiglio, altering the physical and perceptual characteristics, transporting the visitor to a dark and labyrinthine environment that totally envelopes them.
The starting point is the itinerant installation Frazada (La Sombra) (2016), created for the Bolivian Biennale in 2016, which will travel around the squares of Lucca on its opening day and will subsequently be set up in the outside spaces of the Tenuta Dello Scompiglio. The installation is made of a sheet mounted on a 1.9m high metal structure usually used for market stalls. The sheet was salvaged from the morgue at La Paz and it is soaked with the blood of a female victim of femicide, causing discomfort to anyone who uses its shade to get relief from the heat on sunny days, as they only gradually become aware of the strong odour of blood emanating from it.
The heart of the show, in the exhibition space, is the large canvas Wila Patjharu / Sobre la sangre (2017), in this case, saturated with the blood of ten femicide victims of La Paz and subsequently embroidered by local artisans using traditional decorative technics of Bolivian folk dance costumes. It appears much like the way that folklore and tradition often succeed in covering, concealing and transforming a daily tragic realty into ornament. Floral motifs and caporals embellished with sequins, beads and bright-coloured threads, line a synaesthetic, 25-metre pathway, along which the public, enveloped in semi-darkness, is guided in a walk of confrontation with their own convictions and ethical and aesthetic securities to the sound of their own footsteps.
These footsteps lead to the third installation in the exhibition, titled Testimone (2017), and realized specifically for this show. The environment is configured like a perimeter corridor in semi-darkness, in which are arranged audio traces and two photographs that depict Carla and La Gata, two transsexual prostitutes who died prematurely in the Mexican city, Ciudad Juárez. The audio recordings revolve around refusal and social reluctance, experiences and broken dreams. The former, killed at age 67 in 2015 and the latter at 32 in 2016, paid with their lives for the gender hatred borne by not only their killers, but also the institutions. Being transsexual, prostitutes and poor, makes these deaths that do not count. As Judith Butler says in her essay, “Precarious Life: the Powers of Mourning and Violence”: “Who counts as human? Whose lives count as lives? And finally, what makes for a grievable life?”
Teresa Margolles (born 1963 in Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico) has exhibited in numerous museums, institutions and international foundations. Among the major exhibitions: Dallas Biennial, 2017; Biennial of Bolivia, 2016; Neuberger Museum of Art, Acquisto, NY, USA, 2015; Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, 2014; Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid, 2014; Principe Claus Fund, Amsterdam, 2012; Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), Città del Messico, 2012; Museo de Arte Moderno, Città del Messico, 2011; Museion, Bolzano, 2011; Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, 2010; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 2010; the Venice Biennale, Mexican Pavilion, Venice, 2009.
round midnight / ritratti (round midnight/portraits)
Conceived and directed by Cecilia Bertoni
soundscape: Carl G. Beukman
performers: Olivier Boréel, Eleonora Chiocchini, Katia Frese, Sara Leghissa, Valerio Sirna
video camera and editing: BAM with Cecilia Bertoni
video make-up: Giulia Avarello and the performers
scenery construction: Paolo Morelli, Cipriano Menchini, Alice Mollica
production year: 2016
The video installation round midnight is an adaptation and development of one of the videos shown originally at the eponymous performance by the director and artist Cecilia Bertoni, presented by Compagnia Dello Scompiglio in 2016.
In the video we see the portraits of the five performers. At first, they appear to have just woken up, without filters or masks, still unconscious of the need to present themselves to the world. Subsequently, their features whitened, they emerge made-up according to the conventional representations masculine and feminine, whereas at the end of the narrative, they themselves choose a make-up that neither obscures them nor merely renders them presentable, but which says more about who they truly are, beyond the dichotomy.
Within these transformations there are delays, structural modifications as regards the normal concepts of time in which it becomes difficult to define what one is and what one becomes.
The viewer participates in the images in an atmosphere that circumvents chronological time and makes them feel at ease, almost as if the world no longer observes them and there is no need to adopt the set role that responds to the expectations created about us.
These events are part of Assemblaggi Provvisori (Provisional Assemblages): exhibitions, installations, performances, concerts, discussions, theatre for teens and children, and workshops focusing on individuality in connection and/or in conflict with gender, and the absence of causality and coincidence between biological sex, masculinity–femininity and sexual orientation.
Created and directed by Cecilia Bertoni, the Dello Scompiglio Project comes to life on the estate of the same name situated in the Vorno hills, just outside Lucca. It is a project in which indoor and outdoor visual and performing arts, dialogue and interaction with the earth, the woods, animals and architecture all make a contribution to cultural research. Every part of the project is assessed for environmental sustainability in terms of forms of interaction and responsibility. Together with the Azienda Agricola (farm) and restaurant, the eponymous Cultural Association also operates at the Tenuta Dello Scompiglio. Since 2007 the Association has created, produced and hosted shows, concerts, exhibitions, installations, children’s theatre, artists-in-residence, workshops and courses. It offers and organises outdoor walks, Feldenkrais® Method classes and manages the SPE – Performance and Exhibition Space.
Sobre la sangre
round midnight / ritratti