* Above, Margolles, via Universe in Universe.
What do you get when you put Mexico's preeminent contemporary art critic and its most radical working artist together on the global stage of the moment? I'm gonna go ahead and say it: You get a temple of blood.
Cuauhtémoc Medina, as a curator, submitted the winning entry for the Mexico pavilion at the upcoming Venice Biennale, featuring a new installation by Teresa Margolles, an artist who specializes in the material usage of cadavers, morgue water, and blood. For the 2009 Mexico pavilion, Margolles will exhibit mud and human blood from the sites of narco executions in Sinaloa area, where she is based. The pavilion is to be installed at the 16th Century Palazzo Rota Ivancich, just steps from St. Mark's Square. Blood, I'm told, will drip continuously upon the palace's ancient floors.
Read more at e-flux.
Reforma announced the exhibit in Wednesday's paper with this headline: "Narcoterror to be Exhibited in Venice." It's actual title is "What else could we talk about?", a blunt admission of the blood-soaked elephant in the room that no one in Mexico can deny, no matter how hard the president, media, and foreign boosters try. The purpose of the work, I'm told, is to "activate back those materials" in the face of the art-world and the consumers of Mexican-managed drugs in the United States and Europe -- and in Mexico itself.
So said Mariana Botey and Helena Chávez Mac Gregor, who aided Medina in the curation and writing of the work's texts. Those writings will be available later at this site where the artists contribute, Des-Bordes. Drenched in real Mexican blood, the installation, Chavez said, is all the more pertinent as Mexico became the pariah of the global community this spring after the swine flu feargasm.
"It's pure contamination, pure infection," Chavez told me Wednesday evening.
Botey added in our dual interview: "[Margolles] interrupts the art space by bringing in these materials that are really charged, which traces the relationship between death and power. It's about necropolitics, and the eruption of necropolitics in the art sphere."
With Mexico's conservative federal government trying its best to contain the geopolitical consequences of the orgy of narco violence in Mexico, and Europe's generally delicate airs, we'll see in the coming days how this aggressive gesture by Mexico's Medina and Margolles goes over. The Mexico Pavilion in Venice is slated to be on view until November.
* Images and media reaction to come later.