A Letter Always Arrives at its Destination

Una carta siempre llega a su destino
MUAC, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City

Exhibition Website

Through an artistic practice that is both visual, textual, and performative, Jill Magid forges intimate relationships within bureaucratic structures, seducing, negotiating with and overturning authority. Magid's works often take the form of elliptical love letters appealing to the human qualities of control agents. These charged encounters are not only based on mutual trust, but are also fraught with ethical complications and social asymmetries. Through her works, the artist rethinks the complexity, the potential intimacy, and the absurdity of our relationship with institutions and power. Her projects investigate seemingly impenetrable systems, such as the New York police, the Dutch Secret Service, Surveillance, and, more recently, the legacy of the architect Luis Barragán.

This exhibition focuses on works that revolve around Los Archivos Barragán , a long-term project with several stages and deliveries in which Magid examines the legacy of the Mexican architect Luis Barragán (1902-1988) and poses incisive, radical and Pragmatic, about the forms of power, public access and copyright that build an artistic legacy.

In his will, Barragán divided his file into two parts. Along with the vast majority of its architecture, his personal archive remains in Mexico at his home, the Casa Luis Barragán which is now a museum and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1995, Barragán's professional archive, including the rights of his name and work; As well as all the photographs taken of it, was bought by Rolf Fehlbaum, president of the Swiss furniture company Vitra.

The Barragán Archives   reunites the divergent paths of Barragán's personal and professional archives. In exploring the official and private Barragán, the specific interest of the multiple individuals, governmental and corporate entities that have become historical guardians of the archives, Magid directly involves complex intersections between the psychological and the judicial, identity and national repatriation , International property rights and copyright, authorship and property, the human body and the body of work.

With this project the MUAC opens the political and ethical debate on the present and future conditions of the transfer of the patrimonial culture of a nation-state model to one of corporate entities. Magid's work raises essential questions about the consequences and implications of a cultural legacy becoming private corporate property and the ramifications of its commodification in terms of erotic or nationalist affection in the context of the management of peripheral culture in capitalism current.

One of the chapters of Magid on Barragán, La proposal  (2016) has provoked an ample debate in Mexico, and Guadalajara, that has come to have echo in the means. At that stage of the intervention, Magid and Barragán's relatives agreed to take a fraction of the architect's ashes placed in the roundabout of illustrious men of Guadalajara to make an artificial diamond that, set in a ring, served as a means of negotiation with Federica Zanco , Director of the Barragan Foundation in Switzerland, in order to repatriate the archives of Barragán to Mexico.

This situation gives us the opportunity to tackle a thorny case like The proposal  at the moment when it is still not neutralized by history, that is, when it is an effective object of debate. We are interested in asserting the obligation of public art institutions to give rise to artistic production in its most controversial side, in view of the concern that the themes that the work of Magid convenes in relation to issues such as intellectual property, access To the archives, the commercialization of culture and the social significance of the dead weight of culture. "A letter always reaches its destination."

Parallel to the exhibition and consonant with the university spirit, will be held days of reflection on the issues and lines of discussion that convenes an art project such as Jill Magid. We propose to convene around the exhibition to an orderly and measured debate of the positions taken around the ring in the effort to transform the dynamics of scandal, so common in our environment before controversial art, in a situation of study and critical reflection . To these days will be invited all the voices that have taken part of the public debate around the Barragán Archive. Some of the lines of discussion will be: copyright, intellectual property, legal loopholes, the commercialization of archives and heritage culture, among others.