Sebastián Díaz Morales was born in Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina, in 1975 and lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He attended the Universidad del Cine de Antin in Argentina from 1993-1999, the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam from 2000-2001, and Le Fresnoy, Roubaix, France from 2003-2004. Diaz Morales’s conception of reality has been shaped by the living conditions and landscape of his birthplace, Comodoro Rivadivia, an industrial city located on the Atlantic coast, in a rugged area between the Atlantic Ocean and the Patagonian Desert in southern Argentina, where wind speeds can top 150 km/h. His questioning of reality in film, whether concerning landscape, the urban, or even the sociopolitical, has been marked from the very outset by a fundamental distrust of the belief in a single, unified reality. With Díaz Morales, the camera does not function as a medium for faithfully depicting and recording what is observed, but is an essential, even epistemic means for questioning and appropriating reality.
Díaz Morales’s examination of perception and reality is based on the assumption that reality itself is by nature highly fictional. Thus, his films do not simply transport the viewer into another, surreal, or phantasmal realm, but they strip reality of its familiarity and distort it, making it seem like something else. With Diaz Morales, the viewer’s imagination does not function as a basic counterpart to the real. Rather, it operates as a force capable of evoking space and producing it diegetically, one that, beyond generating a direct visual impression, fills in the gaps in seeing and, as the film unfolds, gradually reveals to the viewer the constructedness of what we call reality. Reality is presented here as a phantasm, as something that always eludes its defining in images. It is therefore always “a little bit ahead” of the image and the viewer’s gaze.
His work has been exhibited widely at venues—such as the Tate Modern, London; Centre Pompidou; Stedelijk Museum and De Appel, Amsterdam; Le Fresnoy, Roubaix; CAC, Vilnius; Art in General, New York City; Ludwig Museum, Budapest; Biennale Sao Pablo; Biennale of Sydney; Miro Foundation, Barcelona; MUDAM, Luxemburg; Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon; and the Biennale di Venezia.
His works can be found at the collections of the Centre Pompidou; Tate Modern; Fundación Jumex, Mexico; Sandretto Foundation, Torino; Lemaître's collection; Constantini collection, Buenos Aires; Pinault Foundation, Paris; Sammlung-Goetz, Munich; and the Fundacion de Arte Moderna, Museo Berardo, Lisbon between others.
In 2009 he was awarded with a Guggenheim Fellowship.
(Adapted from an article by David Komary)