June 5, 2016 - Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) - Mario García Torres: An Arrival Tale
June 5, 2016

Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21)

Mario García Torres, The Way They Looked at Each Other, n/d. Photo: Nik Wheelr / Alamy.

Mario García Torres
An Arrival Tale
June 17–November 20, 2016

Opening: June 17, 7–10pm, performance by Carl Michael von Hausswolff

Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21)
Scherzergasse 1A
1020 Vienna
Hours: Wednesday–Thursday 12–5pm,
Friday–Sunday 12–7pm

T +43 1 513985648

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An Arrival Tale is an exhibition that pretends to use a number of my works from the TBA21 collection to argue that the space of arrival, the space where one can reinvent oneself, could be an interesting one, and one that has historically been a space to thrive.”
–Mario García Torres

Appropriation, storytelling, and reenactment, are some of the strategies that Mexican artist Mario García Torres uses to uncover (hidden) histories, narratives, and strategies embedded in sites and places, in order to highlight the limitations of factual evidence and the agency of historical records and objects. An Arrival Tale detaches the works by the artist in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary collection from their original contexts and descriptions and offers them as a collection of narratives and artistic experiments open for reinscription. The exhibition seeks to collect, describe, and complicate narratives of transplantation, pointing to migrations, displacements, relocations, and resettlements, which span both time and disparate geographies.

What are the actual conditions and what are the dreams, what are the politics housed in the bodies of the people moving, what is left behind, and what is met anew? Is arrival a fresh start, or is it implicitly haunted by challenges of absence and disembodiment? The gesture of reimagining the frame of the exhibition itself is intended to open up new possible readings, thus allowing for speculation on the possibilities of reinvention and transcendence. The concept is signposted loosely by two narrative arguments—the moments of arrival and the return—manifested through two specific artworks: the former through Tea and the latter through a new commission titled The Way They Looked at Each Other, exploring an existing body of research originally investigated for an essay by García Torres published in Frieze in 2012. Like much of García Torres’s work, the exhibition itself questions narratives, both by looking back and complicating historical descriptions and by looking forward and projecting new possibilities. It is a sort of twisted archaeology of García Torres’s own practice, thus allowing his works made at different times to be read within the context of the political sphere and human experience.

An Arrival Tale was conceived in light of TBA21’s engagements with the contemporary refugee crisis and, more generally, within the condition of continuous global migration and displacement. The conceptual gesture of re-imagining stories is not an attempt to diminish the scope of trauma inherent in the process of migration but rather is an investigative proposition to think specifically about the nexus of departure, arriving, and returning, tropes deeply invested within the notion of exile. Developed in dialogue with migrants and asylum seekers in Austria, the exhibition allows for an exploration of the reality, imagination, and overall complexity of the trajectories of displacement and movement, temporarily revisiting times and spaces that are imagined, embodied, occupied, constructed, inhabited, left behind, and traversed.


An Arrival Tale marks the beginning of the fifth season of "EPHEMEROPTERÆ," TBA21’s summer-series dedicated to the performative articulations of spoken word phenomena. The season premieres with Carl Michael von Hausswolff's Humatic Étude #1 for piano (dedicated to Conlon Nancarrow) and an introduction by Mario García Torres.

Humatic Étude #1 for piano is a participatory performance, devised by Carl Michael von Hausswolff as a comment to the mecatech music by Conlon Nancarrow, developed specifically for Mario García Torres exhibition. Playing with the idea of participation, the work tests the abilities of the public to keep time with machine precision.

Other events with Martina Hochmuth, Olga Dukhovnaya, Boris Charmatz (Museé de la danse), Babi Badalov, Vít Havránek, Natasha Ginwala, Sarathy Korwar, Nira Yuval-Davis, Oliver Ressler, Sandra Terdjman, Bassam El Baroni, Amal Khalaf, Monira Al Qadiri (GCC), Jakob Jakobsen, Heinrich Dunst.


Press contacts:
press [​at​] tba21.org

A B C Ana Berlin Communications
T + 43 660 475 38 18 

Gérard Rabara
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary

T +43 01 513 98 56 18  / gerard [​at​] tba21.org

Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21)
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An Arrival Tale
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