Teresa Margolles

The black shroud . 2020

Teresa Margolles . The black shroud . 2020 afasia (1)

+ James Cohan

Central to the exhibition is El manto negro / The black shroud, a large-scale installation comprised of burnished ceramic pieces hand-made by artisans in Mata Ortiz, Mexico. Known for its production of ceramic pots, Mata Ortiz is located south of the Paquimé archaeological zone in Casas Grandes, at the foothills of an area now controlled by cartels. The village and its ceramicists have suffered greatly from the escalating violence in the region. Over the course of 18 months, Margolles collaborated with a group of artisans to produce thousands of square-shaped ceramic forms, each representing a victim. Sourced from deposits at the base of this mountainous zone, the clay pieces were darkened with a traditional firing technique using smoke from burning cow manure, and then hand-burnished with a stone to an almost glass-like finish. For Margolles, the resulting charcoal hue “speaks of an experience of mourning for people killed in violent acts, both in Mexico and the United States—and a correlation of responsibility. The wall becomes a unifying black shroud that covers both countries.”
James Cohan