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Open Sketches,
Van Zijl Langhout, Amsterdam
17 June - 31 July

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Cityscapes Foundation, Amsterdam
12 June - 17 July 2021

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.

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Talk with Dust
carlier | gebauer, Berlin
14 March - 18 April 2020

“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.

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Talk with Dust

Stuk, Leuven, Belgium

16 Oct - 15 Dec 2019

Curated by Karen Verschooren

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

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Main hall of Rotterdam Central Station

23 Jan - 10 Feb 2019 - 24hr a day

Organized by Rotterdam Film Festival and Art Rotterdam Fai

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.

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Focus Sebastian Diaz Morales

Videoex, Zurich

25 May - 2 June 2019

Curated by Patrick Huber

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.

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En un futuro no muy lejano

MUNTREF Centro de Arte y Naturaleza

13 Abril - 5 Agosto 2018

Curada por Benedetta Casini

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.

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Galerie Stadtpark, Krems

April – May 2018

Curated by David Comary 

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.

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Biennale di Venezia, VIVA ARTE VIVA

Pavilion of Joys and Fear

13 May – 26 November 2017

Curated by Christine Macel

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.

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Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen

14 October – 05 June 2017

Opening: Thursday, October 13th 2016, 6-9 pm

"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.

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The Lost Object

Gallery carlier | gebauer, Berlin

10 September – 29 October 2016

Opening: Friday, September 9th 2016, 6-9 pm

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.

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Galeria Pepe Cobo, Lima, Peru

10.06 - 10.08.2015

Opening: Wednesday 10 June at 18h

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.

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LE FRESNOY - Studio national des arts contemporains

14.02 - 26.04.2015

Opening: Friday 13 February at 18h

Directrice artistique de l’exposition : Caroline Bourgeois

Scénographe : Christophe Boulanger 

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.(...)

Jean-Philippe Toussaint

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.

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Sebastian Diaz Morales. Ficcionario II

31 01 - 16 03 2014

Opening: Friday 31 January at 6pm

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.

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