Death by violence is the central theme that informs the art of Teresa Margolles. She frequently uses materials coming from, or related to, dead human bodies, like human blood or water used to wash a corpse. In her pictures, sculptures, installations, performances, videos, and photographs she explores the brutality of death in the context of the Mexican drug war, the unjust social situation, gender hatred. The exhibition at the Kunsthalle Krems focuses on a recent topical aspect of her work: the nearly hopeless situation of transgender prostitutes in Ciudad Juárez, the city with the highest rate of violent crime in Mexico.

Margolles spent some time in the city and, through a contact named Karla, was able to meet and get to know a number of locals. For her series Pistas de Baile (2016) she took photographs of transgender prostitutes posing on the remnants of demolished discotheques and nightclubs where they used to work. The large-size photographs radiate pride and beauty but also a sense of boundless forlornness—making a strong statement for those experiencing social exclusion.

A second work, an installation entitled Karla, Hilario Reyes Gallegos (2016), deals with the brutal murder of Karla, Margolles’s contact and informant. A large photo portrait that Margolles made of Karla shows a self-confident older transgender prostitute. The second level of the piece consists of an audiotaped testimony in which a fellow sex worker speaks about Karla’s unsolved murder. By only giving her (male) birth name, Hilario Reyes Gallegos, the death certificate evidences how society negated the reality of Karla’s transgender identity even after her death.

Teresa Margolles was born 1963 in Culiacán, Mexico. Sie lives and works in Mexico City. Her work was shown in much-noted international exhibitions, for example, at Tate Modern in London (2012) or at the Guggenheim Museum in New York (2005). In 2009, she designed the Mexican pavilion at the Venice Biennale. In 2018, she was nominated for the renowned Hugo Boss Prize. The artist first came to Krems in 2008 under the international exchange program AIR - ARTIST IN RESIDENCE Lower Austria. In 2013, she took part in the annual donaufestival where she showed performance and an installation. The Kunsthalle Krems now presents, in cooperation with AIR - ARTIST IN RESIDENCE Lower Austria, a solo exhibition featuring her recent works in which she addresses the issue of violence against the socially excluded and marginalized.

Curator: Florian Steininger

In cooperation with AIR - ARTIST IN RESIDENCE Lower Austria

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