Frontera reflected on the suffering engendered by the dramatic scale of organised crime in Mexican society, and in particular on the murders and disappearances in Ciudad Juarez, the ‘frontier’ city on the border between Mexico and the United States that gave the exhibition its name.
With more than 3,000 murders in a year, and more than 700 women kidnapped, tortured and killed, Juarez is thought to be one of the most dangerous cities in the world. For “Frontera” the artist Teresa Margolles has created works of great impact. Through at first sight simple and minimalist in terms of style, when we learn of the origin of the materials used and their connection to horrific crimes, the pieces revealed their great emotional depth, recounting deep-seated trauma. Beyond the specific context that shaped them the works in the show also possessed an undisputed universal value, commenting on our mechanisms of denial and the taboos connected to death and violence in contemporary society. The exhibition continued on the fourth floor of Museion. The central element here was two walls the height of a person, Muro Ciudad Juárez, 2010 and Muro Baleado (Culiacán), 2009, which had been transported from Mexico and rebuilt in Bolzano. The walls were a crude memorial of death, bearing bullet holes left by the executions of two policemen in the city of Culiacàn, and four youths, aged between 15 and 25, in the city of Juarez in 2009. By placing the walls almost entirely intact in the museum venue, the artist has transformed the context, making crime scene evidence into sculpture. As well as a number of installations, the Bolzano exhibition – for the first time – presented the filmed action ¿Cuánto dolor puede soportar una Ciudad?, created specially for “Frontera” and shot in the cities of Juarez, Kassel and Bolzano.
Curated by Rein Wolfs and Letizia Ragaglia. Curatorial assistant Frida Carazzato. In collaboration with Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel.
Teresa Margolles – Frontera, 2011