The work called Fosse commune (Common Grave), which stretches underfoot here, is a section of floor that was destroyed, then rebuilt with a mix of cement, pigments, and resin. These were mixed with water from Mexico transported illegally in the baggage of various friends of the artist. The water had been used to wash the bodies of murder victims after they had been autopsied in the morgue of Culiacán, a violent metropolis and center of the drug cartel that is also the artist’s native city. The water was used as a bond in the new floor of the art center.
Teresa Margolles, Table et deux bancs—Mesa y dos bancos, 2005.
Water, cement, pigments, resin. Production CAC Brétigny—under the direction of Pierre Bal-Blanc.
Table et deux bancs (Table and Two Benches) is a set of furniture created for outside the art center using a mix of cement, pigments, and resin, which were incorporated with water brought from legal medical laboratories in Mexico City, Mexico. This water was originally used in washing the bodies of murder victims, following the autopsies performed on them. To visitors and passers-by,Table et deux bancs is a rest area, a domestic outdoor space that echoes the art center’s interior.
The Mexican artist Teresa Margolles was born in 1963 in Culiacán in the State of Sinaloa and studied art, communications, and forensic medicine. In 1990 she helped found SEMEFO, an artists’ group whose name refers to the “Servicio Médico Forense” (Mexico’s Forensic Medicine Service). The group uses performances and installations to address the social violence afflicting her country. Her artistic vocabulary is minimalist and favors rough, unrefined matter and raw materials in visual depictions of the violence that is rife in Mexico’s press. Her projects involve the viewer physically and politically. She has shown at numerous international biennials and exhibitions, including the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009, where she represented Mexico. Teresa Margolles was awarded the Artes Mundi Prize in Cardiff, a prestigious prize in the UK that recognizes visual artists who deal with “social reality, lived experience, and the human condition,” and earned in 2019 a special mention by the jury of the 58th Venice Biennale. She is represented in France by the mor charpentier gallery.