Teresa Margolles Galerie Peter Kilchmann
Teresa MargollesGalerie Peter Kilchmann
Mujeres venezolanas en la frontera con Colombia (Venezuelan women on the border with Colombia), 2018. Installation with 1 color print on wallpaper and 1 audio piece, 12:03 min; documentation and testimony resulting from workshops with young Venezuelan mothers held in the area of La Parada, next to the Simón Bolívar International Bridge, Colombia; 267 x 401 cm (105 ⅛ x 157 ⅞ in.); Ed. 1/ 10 (+ 2 AP).




Teresa Margolles


June 10 - July 29, 2022



Margolles explores the sites and consequences of forced migration in the border region between San Antnio de Táchira, Venezuela, and San José de Cúcuta, Colombia. Violence, poverty and discrimination, are traced back to fundamental origins - using a local conflict that can stand representative of global tensions with migration and our current world events.



Teresa Margolles
Estorbo (Obstruction) II, 2019
Installation consisting of 90 concrete cube and color prints (posters), mounted unframed on the wall. Each cube shows the initials of Venezuelan men who have migrated to Cucutá, Colombia, and work as “Trocheros” (trail-finder and carrier) at the frontier bridge Simón Bolívar. The t-shirts that belonged to these men, soaked with their sweat, have been given to the artist in an act of exchange and cast in the cubes. Each photograph corresponds to one cube.
Each cube: 15 x 15 x 15 cm
Each photograph: 180 x 120 cm



The titular installation Estorbo is part of a larger project for which the artist involved a total of over 180 young Venezuelan men who work on the Simón Bolívar Bridge as “carretilleros” (load carriers). The Spanish term estorbo stands for the idea of “obstacle” or “disturbance”. A randomly distributed area of 90 grey cement cubes stretches across the exhibition space, challenging the visitor's special attention as they enter. Each cube shows the imprint of different initials on its surface, while in various spots a piece of fabric is visible beneath the porous surface.


The objects are the result of a performative act that Margolles developed from a temporally displaced combination of dialogue and interaction. The participating Venezuelans told the artist their respective stories on site and then, as a symbol of their physical labour, gave her the t-shirt covered with the sweat from their activity. In a performance at the Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá in Colombia in 2019, the t-shirts were cast into concrete blocks, and the initials of the participants were engraved into each cube. The concept of the cubes is reminiscent of Gunter Demnig's Stolpersteine (stumbling stones) and in a similar way gives a face and identity to the many unknown souls.





Teresa Margolles
Un país entre dos países (A country between two countries), 2019
Single channel video, color, sound, 17:08 min; record from the Simón Bolívar International Bridge at the border between Venezuela and Colombia
Ed. 1/ 3 (+ 2 AP)



More than 6 million people have left Venezuela since 2013 to date to find refuge in neighbouring countries and other regions of the world, according to a UN study. About a third of Venezuelan refugees settle in Colombia, while few cross the official Simón Bolívar border bridge on their journey. Those who cannot pay the fees and cannot present the appropriate permit choose the alternative route, along the illegal escape routes, the so-called “trochas”. These are considered a dangerous place, characterised by a cycle of illegal activities and increasing misery.



Exhibition views Teresa Margolles, Estorbo, Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich, 2022. Photos: Sebastian Schaub.




“I took two photographs of that moment; the first I gave to the migrants and the other I kept. I gave them the photographs to remind them of the exact moment at which they crossed the border. Many of them told me that they would keep it to look back at themselves when they were back in their country. However, they were scared to be photographed.”




Teresa Margolles
Album de familia, 2017/ 2018
Digital slide show, color, no sound, 8:20 min; the action consisted of taking two polaroids of Venezuelan migrant families while they were crossing the frontier bridge Simón Bolívar towards Colombia. The family kept one and the artist kept the other. The memory of their passage when leaving Venezuela behind is objectualized in the polaroid.
Ed. 1/ 3 (+ 2 AP)




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