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Carlos Motta

Venue: KW Institute for Contemporary Art

Carlos Motta

Born 1978 Bogotá, CO – lives and works in New York, US

The way sexual and gender politics interact with issues such as immigration, race, ethnicity, or neocolonialism are core themes of Carlos Motta’s projects, which use media ranging from installation to symposia, photos, and videos. One of his main concerns is the critique of hegemonic history through the creation of alternative archives and narratives that destabilize notions of gender—thereby creating a corpus of visibility and representation for non-normative subjectivities.

The three videos that constitute Motta’s work REQUIEM (2016) propose a queer reading for crucifixion, merit, goodness, and atonement—concepts traditionally affirmed by Christian institutions. The video Libera Me [Deliver Me, 2016], featuring a performance in which Ernesto Tomasini sings Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem, represents the singer as a dissident believer asking for forgiveness of his sins. In The End of Crucifixion, theologian Linn Marie Tonstad explains how Christianity has understood the divine gift of life as an economic system of debt and meritocracy, thus replicating the logic of patriarchy and capitalism. In Inverted World, Motta draws from the imagery of Caravaggio’s upside-down Crucifixion of St. Peter (1601). Blending this reference with bondage and sadomasochistic practices, Motta uses “inversion” as a trope to discuss new roles for the cuir/queer community within Christianity. In dialogue with the writings of Argentinian theologian Marcella Althaus-Reid, REQUIEM explores notions articulated in her Indecent Theology: Theological Perversions in Sex, Gender and Politics (2000): How can otherness be included in Christian doctrine? How can queer people live their faith inside the Church? Is it possible, in the words of Tonstad, to assert a new Christian ethic, in which God gives freely and difference is understood as “fundamental and irreducible”?

Lucrecia Palacios

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