Redefining the Mexican Tradition of Death: Teresa Margolles and the Embodiment of Absence

Mónica Salazar

Abstract


This paper focuses on the work of the Mexican artist Teresa Margolles (b.1963), whose entire oeuvre revolves around the idea of death. She holds degrees in both art and forensic medicine, and in the 1990’s she simultaneously worked on her artistic career and at the Mexico City morgue. Consequently, from the beginning Margolles’s art blended the world of art with that of the morgue by adopting human remains —parts of corpses, blood, skin, small pieces of flesh, and the water used to wash corpses— as her media. Although the criticism of her work is undeniably relevant to its particular context, her work should also be read in the broader context of Latin American Conceptualism, and within the narrative of Mexico’s quest for a truly national art.


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