Javier Téllez

Javier Téllez


Javier Téllez, Caligari und der Schlafwandler (Caligari and the Sleepwalker), 2008. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich. Photo: Kenichiro Oshima.

November 24, 2013

Javier Téllez 
Praise of Folly
12 October 2013–26 January 2014

Museum for Contemporary Art
Citadelpark, Ghent 


The largest survey of his work today, Praise of Folly throws a spotlight on most of Javier Téllez’s major films and installations of the last ten years. 

As the son of two psychiatrists, Venezuelan artist Javier Téllez (b. 1969, Valencia, Venezuela) grew up in an environment where the mentally ill were part of everyday life. His film projects involve close collaborative ventures with what are usually ‘invisible’ communities, such as psychiatric patients or people with disabilities, allowing them to participate in the work process in order to produce a dignified and non-stereotyped image of those who are stigmatized. Combining documentary and fictional elements, Téllez works together with these people to provide a fresh interpretation of classical myths, private and collective memories and historical references. His work lends a voice to those who are marginalized, outsiders and the disenfranchised, in order to challenge the concept of what is normal and what is pathological in our society.

The exhibition includes La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc (Rozelle Hospital, Sydney) (2004), Oedipus Marshal (2006), Caligari and the Sleepwalker (2008), Dürer’s Rhinoceros (2010), The Conquest of Mexico (2012), Letter on the Blind, for the Use of Those Who See (2007) and The Greatest Show on Earth (One Flew over the Void) (2005). 

Javier Téllez lives and works in New York. His work has been shown in major venues all over the world, including MoMA PS1, New York, ZKM, Karlsruhe, KW, Berlin, Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, The Power Plant, Toronto, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City and Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam. He took part in TRACK (2012) in Ghent, dOCUMENTA (13) (2012), Lyon Biennale (2011), Whitney Biennale (2008), Manifesta (2008), Sydney Biennale (2008 and 2004), Yokohama Triennale (2001) and Venice Biennale (2003 and 2001). Javier Téllez is a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial fellow (1999) and was a guest of the DAAD Artist programme in Berlin from 2010 to 2011.

In autumn 2014 the exhibition travels to Kunsthaus Zürich.


Javier Téllez at S.M.A.K.
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November 24, 2013

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