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Carlos Amorales. “Life in the Folds” a new language incomprehensible to the old order of things.

The Pavilion of Mexico participated in the 57th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia with the presentation of visual artist Carlos Amorales. Carlos Amorales was born in Mexico, studied in the Netherlands and participated in residences in France and the United States. Carlos Amorales’ project introduces a formal but cryptographic language that unfolds in the works which includes installation. The language of Carlos Amorales alternates the traditional linguistic representations of the messages, making them unintelligible to the old order of the things. The Mexican pavilion’s team is internationally recognized: Commissioner Gabriela Gil Verenzuela and Curator Pablo León de la Barra.

Carlos Amorales at the Pavilion. (Photo Courtesy of the © Venice Documentation Project)

The Mexican pavilion’s team: Curator Pablo León de la Barra, Artists Carlos Amorales and Commissioner Gabriela Gil Verenzuela. (Photo Courtesy of the © Venice Documentation Project)

“Life in the Folds” is based on the title of a book by Henri Michaux. This title evokes an image that corresponds to the fact of being between things: between the pages of a book or a newspaper, between countries and cultures, between opposed ideologies, between oneself and the other. It is what the biennale of Venice itself proposes in the exhibition of 2017 a "viva arte viva" through "between spaces" where aesthetics and identities are crossed and become a hybrid, a global hybridization. The exhibition space is distributed through the assembly of a series of tables where illegible poems written with a new language or in three-dimensional cryptography are represented. The letters are made of ocarinas-ceramic flutes used in the American continent before colonization. In addition to a graphic composition, a sound installation and a film “The cursed village”, where a puppeteer controls the characters of the story, and a music ensemble appear in the background, creating dialogues and soundscape through the figures of ocarina. The film "The cursed village" is a story that deals with the lynching of a migrant family, that arrives at a border transitional place, where the people are hostile to the migrants.

Encrypted alphabet with abstract three-dimensional shapes. Ceramic wind musical instrumen "ocarinas" (Photo Courtesy of the © Venice Documentation Project)

The visitor enters the Mexican pavilion and meets the ceramic ocarinas on tables distributed in the central part, this layout invites the visitor to walk on the sides and see the graphical composition that is in the walls and finish again in the central part where the film is projected. The main object is the ceramic ocarinas, with which the artist constructs languages, symbols and images, constructs poems, texts and a history.

The graphical composition of the 92 paper sheets that unfolds on the walls of the Pavilion, establish a relation with the ceramic ocarinas and all these elements come together in the film The cursed village. One should see the film, the graphic composition and the sound installation as a whole since it is a conceptual result of the artist's proposal. In words of the curator Pablo León de la Barra “life in the folds becomes a total work of art, one where the different involved disciplines, visual arts, animation, cinematography, music, literature, poetry and performance converge” (Venice, May 2017).

Graphic musical score. (Photo Courtesy of the © Venice Documentation Project)

The conceptual work of Carlos Amorales is suitable to the current geopolitical, social and cultural moment, since it has worked very well the idea and the concept. “Placing these metaphors in a national structure—paradoxically situated on a global platform—allows us to ask urgent questions that concern us on both a local and a global level. In view of the new nationalist movements’ opposition to globalization, at a time when most of a nation’s territory already has owners, what type of national-ism are we talking about?” (Carlos Amorales, March 29, 2017)

Pavilion of Mexico - La Biennale di Venezia. Film produced by © global:artfair

The newspaper available in the Pavilion, with the writing proposed by Carlos Amorales is in itself an object –that belongs to the installation- and it is distributed for free and it is essential for collectors to have it. It is certainly recommended to visit the Mexican Pavilion, take your time to read the information and understand the concept.

The location of the Mexican pavilion in the arsenal is excellent but at the same time complicated, if one takes into account not only the corresponding space but the other spaces that are around it, which are wide spaces and present monumental works that immediately attract the visitor and the Critique. So the design and assembly of the exhibition should be fairly well planned so as not to be “between spaces”.

Carlos Amorales – Life in the Folds Pavilion of Mexico in the 57th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia Arsenale, Sale d'Armi, Tesa B May 13th - November 26th, 2017

Text by Jesus Rivero

revised by Carmen Frigerio

Photo Courtesy of the © Venice Documentation Project / Pavilion of Mexico - NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF FINE ARTS, INBA

Film produced by © global:artfair


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