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Teresa Margolles. View of the exhibition ?A new work?, 2018. Photo: Kristien Daem. Courtesy: Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art.
 


Teresa Margolles. View of the exhibition ?A new work?, 2018. Photo: Kristien Daem. Courtesy: Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art.
 


Teresa Margolles. View of the exhibition ?A new work?, 2018. Photo: Kristien Daem. Courtesy: Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art.
 

 
Exhibition
"A New Work" by Teresa Margolles
Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art

17/August/2018






Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, presented the exhibition "A New Work" by Teresa Margolles, curated by Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy and Rosa de Graaf.


Not long ago, Colombians migrated to Venezuela and other places to avoid the escalations of violence and insecurity associated with the war against drugs and military guerrilla groups. Today, Venezuelans are the ones migrating to Colombia as result of hyperinflation and the repressive policies of the Venezuelan government. This has subjected Venezuelans to food shortages and a health crisis, among other challenges that impede social welfare and security. Every day, hundreds of Venezuelans cross the border between San Antonio del Táchira, Venezuela, and the Colombian city of Cúcuta, in search of working opportunities and security. There, they perform unconventional jobs or become part of the workforce to purchase basic goods like food and medicines.


It is from this perspective that the exhibition "A New Work" by Mexican artist Teresa Margolles was conceived. Featuring her most recent works, the show was developed in three phases initiated in 2017 in the form of fieldwork performed in that border area (Phase 1: The Remittance / Phase 2: Through / Phase 3: Inclusion). During her stays in Cúcuta, Margolles delved into the subjects associated with Venezuelan forced migration. In one of the several actions that she performed there, she hired Venezuelans to carry stones across the river that geopolitically divides the border. In another action, she once again hired Venezuelans to knit their stories of the diaspora into fabrics stained with the local soil. During these exchanges, manual labor was remunerated and was always accompanied by conversations between the subjects and Margolles as well as by documentation provided by Margolles.


The exhibition at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art consisted of a simple action: the six large windows of the exhibition space are deliberately smudged using shirts stained with soil and the sweat of the more one hundred Venezuelan men hired by Margolles in Cúcuta. This action in the gallery was executed during the first month of the exhibition by performers Pendar Nabipour and Víctor Santamarina. During this time period, the shirts used were progressively encased in a series of cement blocks that were created on site. The initials of the names of each hired worker were then engraved into each sculptural element. These devices gradually began to form an installation in the space that allude to the spatial dynamics established by the persons crossing the Colombian-Venezuelan border. The show included a portrait of one of the participants in the action in Cúcuta.


"A New Work" was borne out of Teresa Margolles's continuous and profound commitment to support victims of violent crimes in places where, in this artist's view, mending the social fabric requires care. 


 





 


 

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