Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art

MUSÉE D'ART CONTEMPORAIN DE MONTRÉAL | 185, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest
CAN-H2X 3X5 Montreal

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press release

Teresa Margolles: Making Invisible Lives Visible

For more than 20 years, Teresa Margolles, one of Mexico’s pre-eminent artists, has developed a socially engaged practice in response to the violence that ravages her country, and to the lives of voiceless victims. The exhibition at the Musée brings together some 15 works created mainly in the last decade—sculptural, photographic and sound installations, video projections—at the centre of which is La Promesa (The Promise), a striking sculpture in the form of a 16-metre-long wall on which performative actions take place. This site-specific piece, which is in the collection of Mexico City’s Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, is produced from the ground-up remains of a house in the border town of Ciudad Juárez. A potent symbol of an ongoing transmutation and an allusion to the current debates on migration and borders, this wall will be gradually scraped by volunteers who, one at a time and for one hour a day during the exhibition, will spread the remains all over the gallery floor.

Also on view will be 36 Cuerpos (36 Bodies), a string fraught with meaning that runs the length of a gallery; Mundos (Worlds), a humming neon sign salvaged from a former bar, which gives the exhibition its name; three video works; and a recent photographic series, Pistas de Baile (Dance Floors), showing transgender sex workers occupying the remains of what were once the dance floors of now-demolished discotheques and nightclubs, “as if reaffirming their resistance in the midst of violence and destruction,” adds Margolles.

Spare yet disarmingly and powerfully moving, Margolles’s work brings us into the world of people who until now remained invisible.

The exhibition was co-curated by John Zeppetelli, Director and Chief Curator of the MAC, and Emeren García, Head of Travelling Exhibitions at the MAC. Our sincere gratitude goes as well to Lillian Mauer, Sarah McCutcheon Greiche, Phyllis Lambert and Erin Slater Battat for their support in our presentation of the exhibition Teresa Margolles: Mundos.