Smashing Monuments explores the relationships we have with urban monuments. Created by artist and filmmaker Sebastián Díaz Morales for documenta fifteen, the film follows five members of the Indonesian art collective ruangrupa as they walk the streets of Jakarta, pausing to engage in one-sided conversations with the monuments that populate their city. From Indonesia’s fight for independence to ruangrupa’s own path as young citizens of the new republic – the personal and the political play out in Smashing Monuments’ half-improvised, intimate dialogues.
Presented on a largescale LED screen in Collective’s Dome gallery, Smashing Monuments invites us to think about the monuments we see each day in Edinburgh, and the relationships we have with them. From the National Monument (‘Edinburgh’s Disgrace’) just a few hundred metres from the exhibition space on Calton Hill, to the statue of Henry Dundas in St Andrew Square, which remains at the centre of an ongoing controversy and debate in the city.
For its UK premiere, Smashing Monuments will be accompanied by a programme of events and workshops, to be announced.
Produced with financial support of documenta fifteen, Mondriaan Fonds and The Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Smashing Monuments acts as a document of a moment in time, but also of past and future desires and illusions, poetically demonstrating the morphing effect of time on public symbols. More than anything, perhaps, it demonstrates the emotional effect of monuments on people as permanent parts of a city’s social landscape. This contrasts some influential theories of monumentalism. The Austrian writer Robert Musil once noted that “there is nothing in this world as invisible as a monument,” referring to how statues become invisible when it becomes part of the everyday. This tendency might be true in many cases, but as this film shows, this form of familiarity or “everydayness,” may also constitute a close, although not always conscious, bond like that with a neighbor. This could be said of any public sculpture, but those presented in this film are part of a cityscape which has gone through especially rapid changes, both architecturally and politically.
As monuments from the 1960s to and 1970s, the statues symbolize not just nationalism, but also the seemingly never-ending struggles to unite or stabilize the balance of power in the multi-ethnic, multi-religious state. This is especially clear considering the controversy surrounding the Patung Pahlawan (Heroes Monument), also known as Tugu Tani. The sculpture has the form of a young, armed peasant together with his mother who offers him a bowl of rice. It was erected to celebrate the struggled of the Indonesian nation. A plaque on the base reads “only a nation that can appreciate its heroes can become a great nation.” It was sculpted by two of the time’s most prominent Soviet sculptors, Matvey and Ossip Manizer, and was gifted by the USSR as a symbol of their friendship with Indonesia. Sukarno, the new nation’s first president, had travelled to Moscow and was very impressed by the statues he saw there. Himself an architect, he had a grand vision of the Indonesian capital to include boulevards and enormous statues to celebrate the greatness of the new nation.
The title may evoke images of gleeful, destructive anarchism, but "smashing" here signals a relationship between people and official city statues that is friendly, jovial, even a little melancholic.
Five members of the Indonesian art collective ruangrupa (which directed this year’s controversial Documenta exhibition) each walk to a spot where a monument stands. Once glorious, these figures are now a little hidden, forgotten, unseen. Each one, from Pizza Man to the Welcome Monument, embodies a transformative moment in the nation’s political history, an index of its hopes and dreams. The artists stage conversations with these objects, within a repeated format suited to gallery installation as much as to film projection.
Argentine director Díaz Morales’ Smashing Monuments is many things: homespun performance art, social essay, and a pop-cultural study of Indonesian footwear.
Calm, stamping, waiting and then moving forward again with determined tread: in the film Miles marchan (Thousands March) by Argentinian artist Sebastián Díaz Morales (1975), thousands of legs flow past you in an impressive current of varying rhythms. Young legs, old legs, bare legs, legs shrouded in hosiery or denim, atop sandals or sneakers. Legs that Díaz Morales filmed at pavement level. Faceless legs, yet all of them in motion and all in pursuit of a singular goal – though you never learn what it is.
Today, the idea of a protest march as a means of decrying injustice and calling for change seems more relevant than ever. But for Díaz Morales, who grew up seeing images of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo protesting in Buenos Aires, this kind of march has a historical significance as well. With Miles marchan (Thousands March), the artist now creates a portrait of the protest march as an entity. It is a portrait of a multitude, of countless individuals who temporarily come together as one being, animated by a singular collective energy. Morales compiled this work from footage of various demonstrations in which the focus lies not on the individual, or on their faces and slogans, but on the movement of the whole. The resulting imagery is equal parts poetry and activism, walking a fine line between fiction and reality.
The soundtrack – for which the artist collaborated with the South African composer and sound artist Philip Miller – reinforces this impression. The audio track is by turns abstract and realistic, tranquil and rousing, moving along with the rhythm of the throng that seems to stride on forever. Meanwhile, Morales himself avoids asserting an opinion. He is interested primarily in the idea and the necessity of change. By deconstructing and reassembling the masses, as it were, he shapes a new image of reality.
photographer René van der Hulst
Having followed and being part of ruangrupa’s practice since the early 2000s, Sebastián Díaz Morales and Simon Danang Anggoro collaborate to produce artistic, autonomous work that can be seen as harvest. Nonkrong (hanging out), humour, improvisation, solidarity, friendship, generosity are some of the elements driving the script. In Smashing Monuments Diaz Morales’ shows several members of ruangrupa from different generations talking to iconic monuments in Jakarta. The country’s history of independence and ruangrupa’s own path as young citizens of the new republic mingle in these half improvised and intimate dialogues. The monuments symbolise several of the values which are also at the core centre of the Lumbung. These monuments and values are old battle friends for the members themselves. The fictionalized story acts here as a document of a moment and also of past and future desires and illusions.
In Sleepers from the serie Fragments members of Gudskul are seen sleeping. It’s in their shared non-productive time, like nongkrong, where life and work come together as one same thing. Gudskul members are seen dreaming together with other fellow members during work time, nongkrong or in their own studio or common spaces of the Ekosystem. As an ongoing chapter, short situations will keep on adding to the series of Fragments in order to one day complete a fuller portrait of an ever-changing and evolving community, their methods and experiences.
carlier | gebauer, Madrid, is pleased to announce Pasajes, a solo exhibition by Argentinean artist and filmmaker Sebastián Díaz Morales. The exhibition will present 6 films from his Pasajes series (2012 - onwards), which confronts viewers with a continuum of ruptures, an incommensurable succession of images of disparate spaces and places.
Through the aesthetic processes of montage and semiotic overlaying, Díaz Morales’s Pasajes series opens up a semi-surreal scenario in which the acting subject (the protagonist) appears ever-more fragile, and to some degree even fictional himself. His walking, his search, must apparently be continued ad infinitum, so that the seeker here becomes the prisoner of his own intentions. Díaz Morales’s visual language is characterized by clarity, by a documentary straight- forwardness, but also by subtle irony and skepticism. In the Pasajes series he creates spatial structures from imaginary connections that simply depict what supposedly exists and that make so-called reality appear as a construct and an illusion. On the surface, his films seem realistic, but as they unfold a symbolic, metaphorical dimension gradually takes over. Díaz Morales leads the viewer into a phantasmal, quasi- magical visual realm, one focused not on escapism but on a subtle yet relentless questioning of our conception of reality. Díaz Morales’s examination of perception and reality is based on the assumption that reality itself is by nature highly fictional. “I am very interested in the notion of reality and fiction. [...] My work explores the boundaries between reality and fiction,” says Díaz Morales. In his work, the viewer’s imagination does not function as a basic counterpartto the real. Rather, it operates as a force capable of evoking space and producing it diegetically, one that, beyond generating a direct visual representation, fills in the gaps in seeing and, as the film unfolds, gradually reveals to the viewer the constructed nature of what we call reality. Reality is presented here as a phantasm, as something that has always eluded pictorial definition. It is therefore always “a little bit ahead” of the image and the viewer’s gaze.
This special inaugural exhibition
The 'Post' which is translated as 'After' in the exhibition's title has various meanings such as 'behind' and 'the following'. 'Post Nature' imagines the world we will advent through expanding humans and ecosystems to the future.
Camille Henrot, Zheng Bo, Ayoung Kim, Hong-Kai Wang, Ruangsak Anuwatwimon, Sebastian Diaz Morales, Meiro Koizumi, Akira Takayama, Jungki Beak, Jongwan Jang, Hito Steyerl, Cécile B. Evans, Shu Lea Cheang, Nam June Paik, Yan Lei, Alexandra Pirici with Performers Jared Marks, Liliana Ferri, Patrick Ziza, Gabriele Bagdonaitė, Yurika Yamamoto, Viktoras Fedorenko
The act of walking as a social phenomenon has gained renewed importance in the twenty-first century. The group exhibition WALK! at the SCHIRN provides an overview of walking as a practice in contemporary art production—a facet that has so far been rarely considered. It examines contemporary explorations and expansions of Walking Art, which had its origins in the 1960s movements of Minimalism, Land Art, and Conceptual Art.
The SCHIRN presents more than forty international artists whose work incorporates walking as an essential element. Some one hundred photographs, video works, collages, drawings, paintings, and sculptures, as well as live performances and participatory projects in public space aesthetically intertwine walking with the challenges of our time, reflect on current debates around issues such as globalization and climate change and explore forms of protest and demonstration.
Bani Abidi, Yuji Agematsu, Allora & Calzadilla, Francis Alÿs, Daniel Beerstecher, Ellie Berry, James Bridle, Tiffany Chung, Jesse Darling, Michael Dean, Sebastián Díaz Morales, Anders Dickson, Flaneur, Hamish Fulton, Rahima Gambo, Birke Gorm, Hamza Halloubi, David Hammons, Yolande Harris, Mona Hatoum, Fabian Herkenhoener, Hiwa K, Michael Höpfner, Jan Hostettler, Regina José Galindo, Kubra Khademi, Bouchra Khalili, Kimsooja, Özlem Günyol & Mustafa Kunt, Minouk Lim, Carole McCourt, Helen Mirra, Sohei Nishino, Carmen Papalia, Signe Pierce & Alli Coates, Sascha Pohle, Pope.L, Hans Schabus, Miae Son, Cheyney Thompson, Milica Tomić
In Suspension a young man is hanging in the air, falling, or perhaps drifting through time and space. There is no particularor definite way to understand his situation. The enlarged image of the falling man gains a monumental quality in the exhibition space, where spectators are able to move up and down stairs and plateaus to engage with the image in a more intimate way. The installation takes its departing point from Moebius’s comic strip Absoluten Caufeltrail, where a man falls endlessly, crossing in his plunge several gates or dimensions of parallel universes. In his re-imagination of a man’s fall, Sebastián Díaz Morales envisions the world as an endless void, evoking a timeless gravity that makes us fall deeper and deeper into our own humanity.
Diaz Morales’s 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 Diaz 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.
Diaz Morales’s examination of perception and reality is based on the assumption that reality itself is by nature highly fictional. “I am very interested in the notion of reality and fiction. (...) My work explores the boundaries between reality and fiction,” says Diaz Morales. 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.
Informed by the philosophy of Jorge Luis Borges' writing 'On Exactitude in Science' Sebastián Díaz Morales presents a reformulation of reality. In this text, a fictional Empire builds a life-size map identical to the Empire they inhabit. A psycho-geographic conceit, the map becomes the territory; the territory the map. The notion of the 'map' as a co-existent reality anchors Diaz Morales works, believing that we are all inhabitants of such maps, and the territory a long-lost relic.
As Borges story concludes with the destruction of the map by later generations, Diaz Morales' continuous construction and destruction of realities is symptomatic of a world where the original no longer exists; only a succession of simulations. Diaz Morales is the inventor of scenarios of infinite potential. Renouncing the limitations of narrative in favour of something less fixed, directionless-ness presents itself as a timely, though uncomfortable agent of endless and pointless opportunity.
The video installation ‘PASAJES’ is a grounded allegory of such endless realities; inviting the viewer along through interlinked, unconnected worlds; an abandoned building, a gym, a museum. Scenes of abandoned grandeur follow the everyday whilst the walking figure remains a passive subject of his constantly altering environment. We see cities that neglect their past in favour of a malfunctioning future. Díaz Morales seeks the essence of the nature of all cities.
“This fantastic is not the one that interrupts the ordinary course of things but rather that which is at once strange and present, at the same time its contradiction and its confirmation.” - Clement Rosset, El Objeto Singular
carlier | gebauer is pleased to announce the exhibition of a recent video installation by the Argentinian artist Sebastian Diaz Morales. Talk with Dust will be his seventh solo exhibition with the gallery. Diaz Morales’ work draws upon the traditions of South American avant-garde cinema, narrative film, and documentary practice to create films and video installations. Through fragmented, abstract scenarios, the artist articulates elastic conceptions of time and space that mine the borderline between reality and fiction.
The philosopher Michael Marder describes dust as an element that transgresses the boundaries between temporal modalities, residing in a non-linear, non-sequential time that collapses the “babel” of past, present, and future. “Eternity is time configured as space, or space indis-tinguishable from time,” he writes, “and dust is its swirling, rolling, disintegrating, and conglomerating image.” In Talk with Dust, Diaz Morales once again returns to the harsh, arid Patagonian landscape that has significantly shaped his artistic language. Spreading across six-channels displayed in two rooms of the gallery, Talk with Dust opens with a vertical projection of road shot from a moving vehicle. With the camera focused entirely on the asphalt, we don’t see any of the surrounding landscape, and with its whirring yellow lines and patchy zig-zags of tar, this view of Patagonia’s route 26 dissolves into something that resembles a Structuralist film more than a scenic drive— thereby setting the tone for a journey without a clear destination. Over the video’s six channels, which unfold over screens of different sizes and orientation, we encounter a slow-burning candle, a drummer improvising, an explosion, and a car cycling endlessly in the desert. Through the viewers’ own movement through space, these isolated occurrences form their own asynchronic narrative and generate a fragmented world—rich mental and material territories on “the other side of the real” where the fantastic resides.
STUK is delighted to present the work of visual artist Sebastián Díaz Morales (°1975).
In his practice, Díaz Morales creates dreamlike filmic realities that situate themselves and the viewer between fact and fiction. He plays with time and space, exchanges narrative for ideas and concept, giving leeway to the associations and interpretations of the viewer. His often explicit references to the (film)camera, perspective and point-of-view question how we see, experience and understand the world around us.
For his solo exhibition in STUK, Díaz Morales will show for the first time his most recent work Talk with Dust (2018-2019) in its entirety. In a succession of projections and screens, Díaz Morales presents eight fragments or sequences. The sequences in and of themselves do not constitute a straightforward narrative or plot. There is no story, only singular details, movements, shapes, sites that create an atmosphere, a succession of different sensations. Through his fragmented narrative, Sebastian Díaz Morales intends to explore an idea of the fantastic:
“This fantastic is not the one that interrupts the ordinary course of things but rather that which is at once strange and present, at the same time its contradiction and its confirmation. For something to be fantastic, it is not enough to be different from the real: also (and above all) it is necessary to mix inexplicably with the real thing. In more philosophical terms we can say that the fantastic is not the other of the same but its alteration: not the contradiction of the real, but its subversion.” *
The sequences present both material as well as mental territories, spaces which function as a mirror upon which an image of our world can surface.
*Clement Rosset, El Objeto Singular, Editorial Sexto Piso, 2007
In collaboration with the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the video work 'Insight' by Sebastián Díaz Morales was shown at the central hall of Rotterdam CS from January 23 through February 10. This work shows a film set on which a mirror is broken in slow motion. By showing the camera, the crew and the mirror, Díaz Morales shows how images in the media are made, and he investigates how we perceive them.
Reality and fiction are the great constants in Sebastian Diaz Morales' (*1975 Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina) work. His films often seem surreal and dreamlike, each character and each image are metaphorical. Reality is usually nothing more than an aspect of the imagination, the revelation of its constructedness runs through many of his works. The narrative elements often remain minimalist, but the visual language triggers numerous associations that enable the discovery of a fresh approach to reality. Fascinated by the future, Diaz Morales explores it in his works in various ways. The suspension of time and the displacement of space often play an important role, as reality is constantly dreamed and reconstructed anew.
Social reality is reflected in a visually abstract and imaginative way. Many of Diaz Morales’ works explore the relationship between comprehensive socio-political power and the actions of the individual. They revolve around the interactions between people and their environment as well as social structures. Different methods are used, from documentary and narrative film material to montages, alienated images and slow motion to installations. Diaz Morales' works are shown worldwide in museums and at festivals such as the Tate Modern, the Centre Pompidou, the Venice Biennale and the Rotterdam Film Festival.
El viernes 13 de abril a las 18:30 horas se inaugurarán en el Muntref Centro de Arte y Naturaleza las muestras En un futuro no muy lejano, del argentino Sebastián Díaz Morales, Naturaleza reimaginada, de la polaca Angelika Markul y La eterna novedad del mundo, del colombiano Larry Muñoz. Las obras se podrán visitar hasta el 5 de agosto con entrada gratuita.
Sebastián Díaz Morales experimenta hace varios años con las posibilidades lingüísticas de la imagen en movimiento transitando por el territorio del documental, del cortometraje y de la video-instalación. Fragmentando la linealidad de la narración tradicional, sus relatos vacilan continuamente entre ficción y realidad, logrando a través de recursos básicos una efectividad poética inmediata. El paisaje es a menudo el protagonista indiscutible de sus videos y en este caso se configura en un imaginario tragicómico: la naturaleza se ha sublevado contra el género humano cuyos últimos representantes, desprotegidos a la intemperie, luchan por su supervivencia reiterando afanosamente acciones absurdas que revelan su penosa impotencia y la completa ineficacia de sus herramientas.
Argentinean artist and filmmaker Sebastián Diaz Morales confronts the viewer in his short films Pasajes I and II with a continuum of ruptures, an incommensurable succession of images of various, mostly disparate spaces and places. Subjected to a subtle form of urban semiotic overload, the viewer and his perception and experience of space, place, and landscape become the observational subject of the films. Diaz Morales’s visual language is characterized by clarity, by a documentary straightforwardness, but also by subtle irony and skepticism. On the surface, his films seem realistic, but as they unfold a symbolic, metaphorical dimension gradually takes over. Diaz Morales leads the viewer into a phantasmal, quasi-magical visual realm, one focused not on escapism but on a subtle yet relentless questioning of our conceptions of reality.
In the Pavilion of Joys and Fears (Central Pavilion), Suspension explores the boundaries between reality and fiction. Poetical and oniric, Díaz Morales’ works are often tinged with irony and scepticism regarding human existence
and our relationship with nature. The film begins with a chimerical view of a thick cloud of white vapor that dissipates to reveal a man suspended in space. He seems to be falling in slow motion, his eyes closed, transcending time. Inspired by the Absoluten Calfeutrail comics by Moebius (1977), the work is a sort of allegory of modern man, remaining imperturbably passive as he falls.
In the Pavilion of Time and Infinity (Gardino delle Vergini), Pasajes IV is the last film in a series of four short films that follows an individual as he wanders through different cities. In this last part, filmed in Patagonia, the protagonist’s passage seems to connect the different places he visits: an abandoned construction site, a closed observatory, and green plains. Inspired by the South American heritage, from Jorge Luis Borges to Gabriel García Márquez, who looked at cities as the cradle of political and social ferment, Díaz Morales portrays places deeply scarred by economic hardship, contrasting with the sense of freedom incarnated by his protagonist and the immensity of the landscapes.
"The mind is dreaming. The world was its dream.“ Jorge Luis Borges
Sebastián Díaz Morales was born in 1975 in the Argentine city of Comodoro Rivadavia. His pictorial language bears the mark of this “Capital of the Wind”, as it is called, situated in an isolated spot between the Atlantic Ocean and the Patagonian Desert. As Morales himself says, the experience of growing up in an extreme environment in the middle of nowhere led to a special way of perceiving reality.
His films and videos, which he has been producing since 1998, show that reality is nothing more than a figment of the imagination. Every figure and every narrative in them is a metaphor for the boundary between reality and fiction. His films revolve around the suspension of time and the displacement of space and time through the constant dreaming and reconstruction of reality.
Morales works with various filmic techniques, for example montage, cartoon-like dissociations or slow motion. Sound also plays a leading part, whether in the form of noise or film music. Some of the works are reminiscent of science fiction. Their narrative style and dialogues are of a minimalist character, yet their imagery evokes associations by which the viewer discovers a new take on reality.
The two major videos Insight (2012) and the newly produced Lost Object (2016) join the monumental HD video installation Suspension (2013) to form the core of a show featuring altogether seven video installations along with objects and drawings. An impressive overall staging awaits the visitor – a fictional world that holds him captive as in a dream.
carlier | gebauer is pleased to announce the solo exhibition of a recent video installation by the Argentinian artist Sebastián Díaz Morales. This will be his sixth solo exhibition with the gallery. Díaz Morales’ film and video installations confound the boundaries between reality and fiction. His work consistently attempts to displace this division through examining the linguistic and visual possibilities of narration.
The Lost Object is the final video in a trilogy that examines the complex mechanisms of how we perceive the constructed nature of reality—and how this construction is performed, both in the realm our imagination and the one of film. As curator Cuauhtémoc Medina notes in a recent monograph dedicated to Diaz Morales’ work, the artist approaches film as a “factory of simulacra,” a conceptual thread that carries throughout his trilogy, which began with Insight (2012) and was followed by Suspension (2014).
A slow, steady shot travels into the set of The Lost Object, accompanied by the din of a whirring film reel that seems to methodically introduce the viewer into a world of artifice: a soundstage containing the set of a curiously dated, yet nonetheless anonymous room. The scenario slowly begins to unravel, disarticulating both the language and apparatus of filmmaking. Following Jean Baudrillard’s notion that the world has disappeared behind its own representation and therefore its impossible to return to it, The Lost Object proposes a new world in which fiction and reality merge into one single element. In this universe, fiction is autonomous and auto-generates itself.
Sebastián Díaz Morales (b.1975, Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina) lives and works in Amsterdam. His work is currently on view in Sonsbeek ’16 and his solo exhibition Ficcionario IV opens at Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen in mid-October. Previous iterations of Ficcionario have been exhibited at Le Fresnoy (2015) and CAC Vilnius (2014). Díaz Morales has additionally exhibited in prestigious international venues such as Tate Modern, London; Centre Pompidou; Stedelijk Museum and De Appel, Amsterdam; Art in General, New York City; Ludwig Museum, Budapest; Bienale São Paulo; Biennale of Sydney; Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona; MUDAM, Luxembourg and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon—and is the permanent collections of the Centre Pompidou; Tate Modern; Fundación Jumex, Mexico City; Foundazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; Sammlung-Goetz, Munich; and the Fundacion de Arte Moderna, Museu Berardo, Lisbon. In 2009 he was awarded with a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Pepe Cobo gallery in Lima presented a selection of works by Argentine artist Sebastian Diaz Morales
Sebastian Diaz Morales was born in Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina, in 1975. After completing his art studies at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam, the Argentine video artist has participated in some of the world´s most recognized video festivals. He received in 2009 the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. He currently lives in Amsterdam.
In his films and videos, the artist explores the possibilities of film language from a perspective that both documents and reinterprets reality through playfulness and irony. Highlights in his work creating an atmosphere that recreates an usual sense of unease.
His work has been described as cinematic narrative with stories that approach science fiction, sometimes with catastrophic notes with a minimalist style where the characters work almost as a metaphor for a story that goes beyond the anecdote to reveal problems of great scope in contemporary society.
Morales Diaz´s work has been exhibited in some of the most important museums in the world, including the Tate Modern (London), Centre Pompidou (Paris), the Miró Foundation (Barcelona), the Stedelijk Museum Bureau (Amsterdam) and the gallery Art in General (New York). His work also forms part of the permanent exhibition at the Tate Modern, the Centre Pompidou, the Jumex Foundation (Mexico), the Sandretto Foundation (Torino), the Sammlung-Goetz (Munich) among others.
The exhibition can be visited from Monday to Saturday from 11 am to 8 pm. Admission is free and open to the public until August 10, 2015.
Sebastian Diaz Morales is a character from fiction. Nobody is absolutely homogenous at every hour of the day and night. We are constantly presenting a multitude of facets of our ourselves, we are transformed by the moon’s rays and other people’s gazes, we metamorphose in keeping with the person observing us. (...) I had an appointment with Sebastian Diaz Morales in Amsterdam on Friday 27 December. (...) I heard him talk about his childhood in Patagonia and his cinema studies in Buenos Aires, his scholarship at the Rijksakademie at the turn of the 2000s, his time at Le Fresnoy, and, as we approached his studio, reality gradually seemed to take over again, as if the fictional part that I had discerned in him was in the process of slowly melting and dissolving in the rain that continued to fall.(...)
Sebastian Diaz Morales, influenced by avant-garde Latin American cinema, documentaries and art movies, has developed a highly distinctive style characterized by an undeniable poetic touch. His work evinces a passion for documentary investigation, spurred by the spectacular nature of his home region, Patagonia, and abetted by a surprising talent for fantastical, sometimes ironic narration, tinged with skepticism. His intense, lively vision of the world stirs sharp yet elusive echoes in the imagination.
Born in 1975 in Argentina, Sebastian Diaz Morales studied at the Rijksakademie as well as at Le Fresnoy in 2004. His works have been regularly shown in various museums and institutions, such as Tate Modern, London; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Stedelijk Museum and the De Appel Art Centre, Amsterdam; Art in General, New York; the Ludwig Museum, Budapest; at the Biennials in São Paulo and Sydney; in the Miró Foundation, Barcelona; the MUDAM, Luxemburg; the CAC, Vilnius.
Solo exhibition Ficcionario by Argentinian video artist, Sebastian Diaz Morales, invites visitors to immerse themselves in a journey through the architectural labyrinths, made specifically for this exposition, in which powerful projectors beam twisted loops of fiction and reality. The exhibition, taking place in the two grand CAC halls, will present five artist‘s video works: Pasajes I & II (2012, 2013), Oracle (2008), Insight (2012), and Suspension(2014). Diaz Morales‘ video works blend different genres; recurring motifs and forms of narrative that are characteristic of documentary combine with experimental and science fiction cinema.
By employing contemporary means of presentation, this exhibition in its own unique way translates the tradition of magical realism; here real and fictional stories intermingle to create a new dimension of meaning. The dialectical relation between reality and representation, the possibilities and effects of the mediation of the world through film – these are Morales‘ conceptual creative interests, which echo in the wanderings through endless labyrinths of images of Kafkaesque characters.
Sebastian Diaz Morales‘ (b. 1975) works are displayed in the permanent collections of the contemporary art museums such as Centre Pompidou or Tate Modern. His works were exhibited in Stedelijk Museum and De Appel in Amsterdam, in Art in General in New York, and also in biennales of Sydney, Sao Paolo and other places. In 2009 he was awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship prize. Born in Argentina, the artist now resides in Amsterdam.