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Accepted Paper:

Productive Provocations: death, narco-violence and border regimes in the work of Teresa Margolles  

Author:

Melanie Janet Sindelar (Austrian Academy of Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses the artistic work of Teresa Margolles, one of the most well-known Mexican contemporary artists. Focusing on how her work transports the materiality of death, the brutalities of narco-violence and border regimes, this paper asks about the "productive provocations" in her work.

Paper long abstract:

Teresa Margolles is one of the most well-known Mexican contemporary artists, and her conceptual work has sparked admiration and disgust at the same time. Whether it concerns bubbles made out of water used by morgues in Mexico city or discussing the case of murdered transgender sex workers, Margolles has managed to achieve reactions and debates in the viewers and critics of her art. Her practice, though minimalist and conceptual, is described as shocking, and sometimes gross. How does Margolles achieve these reactions to her artistic practice in an age characterized by visual oversaturation of death and war (Sontag 2003) and an art world characterized by fatigue? Why is it that her work, though it turns away many viewers, achieves unique productivity? Based on these questions, this paper analyzes what could be termed "productive provocations" in Margolles' work. Thereby, the paper focuses specifically on how her work transports the materiality of death, the brutalities of narco-violence, and the border regimes that affect the protagonists that take center stage in her practice.

Panel P106
Provoking Visuals: Creative Engagements with Borders, Wars, and Conflicts [PACSA Network]