8 November 2016 – 15 January 2017

De Muerte Presente

Death in Contemporary Mexican Art

Grant Exhibition Hall

De Muerte Presente, the Spanish title of this exhibition, refers to the cuerpo presente, the prepared and laid out corpse before its burial. The exhibition title thus alludes to the fact that in hardly any other country in the world is death more present than in Mexico.

This is evident not only in the numerous popular representations of death, as associated with the annual ritual on All Souls’ Day, the “Day of the Dead”, but above all in the constant presence of death in everyday life. It is the result of almost unimaginable everyday excesses of violence, which the world press reports on at regular intervals.

How do people deal with this frightening and disturbing reality? This question is at the centre of the exhibition De muerte presente, which presents works by Mexican artists on the subject. In terms of content, the spectrum includes aspects such as the commemoration of the dead, the boundary between life and death, the dissolution and decay of the body, the sheer coping with the fear of death and the disintegration of society. For their exploration of these themes, the artists usually make use of contemporary media such as photography, installation, video, internet or electronic facial recognition. In doing so, they also often reflect on their own artistic methods, because the subject requires a respectful approach to death and the dead.

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