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date: 08 December 2019

Margolles, Teresalocked

(b Culiacán, Sinaloa, 1963).
  • Robin Adèle Greeley

Extract

(b Culiacán, Sinaloa, 1963).

Mexican multimedia and installation artist. A key figure in the generation of Mexican artists that emerged in the 1990s, Margolles studied forensic medicine and communication sciences at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, and was a founding member of the death metal band and performance collective, Semefo (1990–1999), before commencing her independent artistic career. Margolles’s aesthetics consistently focus on the social violence revealed by death, using her experiences as a forensic technician in Mexico City’s morgue to probe the brutality structurally inherent in contemporary urban society.

Margolles’s trajectory can be roughly divided into three periods: her membership in Semefo; her solo work using the city morgue as her studio; and, subsequently, her aesthetic responses to the unfettered violence induced by Mexico’s drug wars.

In Semefo (which took its name from the acronym for Servicio Médico Forense [“Forensic Medical Service”: the city morgue]), Margolles and her colleagues staged macabre art-action performances filled with blood, excrement, entrails, and dead animals, aimed at transgressing the boundaries of the body. These grotesque manifestations sought to explore the transformations experienced by bodies after death, or what Semefo called the “life of the corpse” (...

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