press release

Opening reception: Friday March 4, 6–8PM

Koenig & Clinton is pleased to announce To Have Done with the Judgment of God, the gallery’s first solo exhibition with Javier Téllez. Featuring a new film installation alongside sculptural and textual works, the exhibition takes root in the writings of Antonin Artaud, particularly those describing his journey to the Sierra Tarahumara in Mexico. Referencing Artaud’s own writings about his experiences, as well as imagery, music, and traditions endemic to the region, Téllez’s latest work addresses questions about identity, language, anthropology, and otherness.

Following The Conquest of Mexico (2012), Téllez’s newest film in his Artaud trilogy continues the artist’s research on Artaud’s visit to Mexico, when the French writer encountered the Rarámuri people in 1936. During his stay, Artaud participated in several of the Rarámuri rituals including the peyote ceremony. His experiences with the Rarámuri haunted Artaud for the rest of his life and later became the subject of his book, A Voyage to the Land of the Tarahumara.

Almost eighty years after Artaud’s psychonautic journey, Téllez revisits the writer’s original route and films some of the rituals described in Artaud’s book. To Have Done with the Judgment of God (2016) takes its title from the censored radio play of the same name. Artaud’s original work from 1947 includes many references to the Rarámuri, the most significant of which is a poem inspired by their ritual tutúguri, a dance oriented towards divine worship, but also towards human relationships.

For the film, Téllez commissioned a Rarámuri-language version of Artaud’s entire radio play, and broadcast it out into the Sierra Tarahumara with the help of a local radio station. Tellez’s film poetically documents the reception of this broadcast by contemporary Rarámuri people. It also offers a glimpse into the contours of their daily lives.

Outside the screening room, a large display of the framed A.A. Postcards (2016) capture mementos from the last ten years of Artaud’s life, from his trip to the Sierra Tarahumara to the time of his death: ships he boarded along his journey, façades of institutions to which he was confined, the peyote cactus, the Aran islands that he visited in Ireland, even the cemetery in Marseille in which he is buried. Artaud Remix (2013) reconfigures a selection of writings from Artaud’s complete works in a 16-page anthology. Drawing from only those texts that contain glossolalia, Artaud Remix presents a new reading of the author’s work that privileges the realm of pure sound over the normativity of language.

The gallery’s exhibition of Téllez’s works is accompanied by a display of first edition books and printed matter related to Antonin Artaud, culled from the artist’s extensive personal archive.

Javier Téllez (b. 1969, Valencia, Venezuela) has been the subject of solo exhibitions at: San Francisco Art Institute (2014); REDCAT Gallery (2014); Kunsthaus Zürich (2014); Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent (2013); Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland (2011); Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York (2005); and The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto (2005), He has participated in group exhibitions at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal; Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas; Castello di Rivoli, Torino; Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, Germany; Museum of Fine Arts Houston; and Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, as well as in Documenta, Kassel, Germany (2012); Manifesta, Trento, Italy; Sydney Biennial; and Whitney Biennial, New York (all 2008); Venice Biennale (2001 and 2003); and Yokohama Triennial (2001). Téllez participated in the Gasworks Studio Program, London (1999); Whitney Independent Study Program (1997); and P.S.1 International Studio Program (1993). In 1999, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. The artist lives and works in New York.