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Issue 132

Carlos Amorales

kurimanzutto, Mexico City, Mexico

BY Jessica Berlanga Taylor in Reviews | 01 JUN 10

Carlos Amorales, 'Throwing the Studio Out the Window', 2010. Installation view.

Carlos Amorales produces elaborate fantasies that attempt to re-evaluate our relationship with the symbolic. Through the creation of ‘Liquid Archive’, a series of digital drawings that comprises all of his work since 2000, Amorales has produced symbols that, as psychotherapist Thomas Moore puts it, are ‘throwing together two incongruous things and living in the tension that exists between them, watching the images that emerge from that tension’. Dark doubles of wolves, aeroplanes, birds, monkeys, skulls, female bodies and much more have emerged from this tension. After ten years of producing these drawings in his studio in Mexico City, Amorales presented ‘Throwing the Studio Out the Window’: a life-size reconstruction of this studio, a 1:1 model within the gallery space of kurimanzutto that serves as a memorial of the site where he began making animations, installations and design with a team of collaborators.

The exhibition was imbued with a sense of collective effort: the white walls of the studio were covered in elaborate pencil drawings (made by the studio’s members) taken from ‘Liquid Archive’, occasionally using stencils that hung from the walls of the gallery. A decade of work was used for these murals; the studio had served as a container for thoughts and images that were now impossible to circumscribe. The gallery and the artist emphasized, throughout the show, the importance of Amorales’ studio as an extension of his mind, as a place for research and experimentation. Outside the studio, on both sides of the gallery’s walls, a series of black cut-outs were set up, abstract images based on Rorschach tests, another constant in Amorales’ work. The cut-outs also evoked different types of cartographies, world maps or emotional charts. The use of hand-drawn lines, layers of structures that demanded psychological organization, contrasted with the technology the artist has always employed – one that he has made to look both beautiful and sacred with his use of archetypal imagery, myth and film. This, together with his collaborations with designers and musicians, offers an expanded web of experience and affective interactions that repeat endlessly throughout his work.

‘Throwing the Studio Out the Window’ was an enigma: it could not be entirely translated into rational terms, and served to communicate Amorales’ interest in the symbolic suggestiveness of other bodies. An oneiric and spectral site where rhythms, repetitions and the multiplication of images occurred and hence metaphors were produced, it was also a rite of passage: the end of one cycle of artistic production and the beginning of another.

Jessica Berlanga Taylor is a curator and art critic based in Mexico City. She is currently Chief Curator at Alumnos47 Foundation.