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Title: Teresa Margolles' aesthetic of death
Author: Banwell, Julia Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 2689 8701
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2010
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The artist Teresa Margolles, Mexico's foremost proponent of corpse art, is based in Mexico City and exhibits her work across the world. Her central obsessions are death, the dead body, and violence, themes which are manifested in her exploration of `la vida del cadaver' (`the life of the corpse'). For the early part of her career during the 1990s, Margolles worked as part of the SEMEFO collective, and she has subsequently maintained her artistic career on a solo basis. She works with the bodies of individuals who were socially and economically disadvantaged during life, and has used body parts and residues such as blood and fat in her works, as well as objects from the morgue that have come into contact with corpses. The corpse itself, however, is not often revealed; rather its presence is suggested by raw materials such as air and water. The artist employs deceptively subtle means of representation that operate on multiple sensory planes in order to draw the spectator into contemplation of the unsettling realities of social inequality and violence in her native Mexico, which sometimes occurs through direct physical contact between the viewer and the raw materials used by Margolles in her art works. The boundaries between life and death, and the inside and the outside of the body, are transgressed. A selection of works taken from different points in the artist's career will be explored from a range of theoretical perspectives including the sociology of the body, the sociology of death, philosophical approaches to the experience of contemplating death and the corpse, and the history of the exploration of these themes in visual culture. In this way, the artist uses an artistic language that may be interpreted across borders, to address a specifically local set of circumstances.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available