The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in collaboration with the Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND), presents a new commission by Mexican artist Teresa Margolles.
Margolles has created a series of six custom-made concrete benches to be exhibited near the north piazza of the BP Grand Entrance at LACMA for LAND's exhibition VIA/Stage 2. The cement used to construct these benches has been mixed with a liquid that was used to clean corpses in an autopsy room in Mexico—four gruesome fatalities, all products of drug- and gang-related violence. These functional benches, intended for use by museum visitors, take the form of an abstracted human body lying prone on the ground.
Margolles has used this format previously, presenting a set of six benches at Jardin Botánico Culiacán, in Culiacán, Mexico, intended as monuments to the dead where spectators might find peace in the tragedies. The new works at LACMA, on the other hand, function as what the artist describes as "perfect embodiments of the spirit of evil," asking those that might engage with them to feel the overwhelming energy of aggression that produced the infused material. However, the elegant, minimal aesthetic of the work, their placement (per the artist's request) in a beautiful, outdoor space, and their value as a place of rest and contemplation for a passing viewer suggest the possibility for brutality and poetry to coexist.
Teresa Margolles was born in Culiacán, Mexico, where she studied art, communication sciences, and received a diploma in forensic medicine from the Servicio Médico Forense. Her practice involves the development of social and conceptual artistic strategies on the basis of the use of bodily substances and images of corpses. Margolles's work has increasingly been exhibited in different venues around the world, and she was the official representative of Mexico at the 53rd International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia (2009).
LAND is a public art initiative committed to curating site- and situation-specific contemporary art projects, in Los Angeles and beyond. Find more information about the initiative on the LAND website.
This exhibition courtesy of Jardin Botánico Culiacán & CIAC. This exhibition is part of VIA, a year-long, multi-site exhibition, organized by the Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND) and presented throughout Los Angeles, featuring a suite of temporary, public projects by contemporary artists from Mexico.