Javier Téllez  l  The Battle of Mexico

December 1, 2006 – January 20, 2007

Arratia Beer is pleased to announce The Battle of Mexico, an exhibition of the Venezuelan artist Javier Téllez (1969 in Valencia/Venezuela, lives and works in New York).

First shown at the Museo Carrillo Gil, Mexico, The Battle of Mexico is a video installation made in collaboration with the patients of the Hospital Fray Bernardino in Mexico City. The work documents a fictitious militia of patients who take over the psychiatric hospital armed with machine guns and wearing camouflage uniforms and Zapatista style ski masks. As the child of two psychiatrists, Javier Téllez grew up in close contact with the environment of psychiatric hospitals. “At that time”—says the artist—“I also began to go to museums and I remember that back then I already found a lot of similarities between both types of institutions: hygienic spaces, long corridors, enforced silence and the weight of the architecture. ... Both institutions are symbolic representations of authority, founded on taxonomies based on the ‘normal’ and the ‘pathological,’ inclusion and exclusion.”

Since the mid-nineties the subject of mental institution and the mentally ill had been and the center of Téllez’s work. His video installations are shaped by an exploration of the porous boundaries between madness and normalcy and institutional power.

Javier Tellez’s work has been exhibited, among other venues, at The Power Plant, Toronto, Gasworks Gallery, London; De Appel, Amsterdam; Castelo di Rivoli, Turin; Biennale of Sidney (2004); “Utopia Station,” 50 Venice Biennale (cur. Hans Ulrich Obrist); 1 Prague Biennale; “Plateau of Humankind,” 49 Venice Biennale (cur. Harald Szeeman).


Click here for the German press release