Artes Mundi Prize 5

Teresa Margolles was awarded the Artes Mundi 5 Prize in 200X.


Since graduating with a diploma in forensic medicine in the late 1990s, Margolles has examined the economy of death, whereby the morgue and dissecting room bear witness to social unrest. With particular focus on the collective turmoil of the northern Mexican social experience where drug-related organised crime has resulted in widespread violence and murders, anonymous traces of past lives, burial and memory are drawn together.


For Margolles, sculptural installations and performance bring the physical reality and materiality of death to the fore. Typically activating the blind spots of our imagination, Margolles collapses the distinction between art and reality, as in her work for the Venice Biennale in 2009 where the floor of the exhibition space was mopped continuously with water containing blood from a morgue in Mexico. By means of such artistic interventions, Margolles brings attention uncharacteristically close to our understanding and relationship with death.

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