In his exhibition "Deseos", consisting of a video work and an installation of sculptures, artist Carlos Motta questions the writing of history and the construction of normative and binary discourses of sexuality and gender with an emphasis on the representation of intersex bodies throughout history.
Motta’s video Deseos / رغبات (Desires) (2015) exposes the ways in which medicine, law, religion, and cultural tradition shaped dominant discourses of the gendered and sexual body through the narration of two parallel stories. The first is that of Martina, who lived in Colombia during the late colonial period of the early 19th century, and was prosecuted for being a ‘hermaphrodite’. The second is the story of Nour, who lived in Beirut during the late Ottoman Empire, and was required to marry her female lover’s brother. The video presents an imaginary correspondence between these two women. Separated by geography, culture, and religion, they both faced the consequences of engaging in same sex relations and defying gender norms.
Beloved Martina (2016) is a series of ten 3D prints based on sculptures from Greek and Roman antiquity and the Renaissance, and photographs from the late nineteenth century. Exhibited in a museum-like installation the sculptures represent the mythological figure of Hemaphroditus, the son of Hermes and Aphrodite, whose body merged with that of the water nymph Salmacis into an androgynous form. Motta’s small-scale copies of the historical objects reflect on the enduring historical fascination with the intersex figure and the ways in which intersex bodies have been subject to the classifying and authoritative institutional gaze.
In the words of American art historian David Getsy, Motta’s work “…is lyrical and ambitious, and he conjures historical characters that are complex in their agency and in their resistance to the systems of political and cultural power that sought to locate and control them. Motta creates moments of what one could call visionary identification.”
Hordaland Kunstsenter prioritises engaging in the production of new work by contemporary artists, and the dissemination of this work in Norway and internationally. Carlos Motta’s video Deseos / رغبات was commissioned by Council (Paris); and co-produced by Hordaland Kunstsenter (Bergen); MALBA – Museum de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires; Röda Sten Konsthall (Gothenburg); Galeria Filomena Soares (Lisbon); and Mor Charpentier Galerie (Paris).
An interview with Carlos Motta made by the Norwegian art criticism platform kunstkritikk.com in connection with the exhibition can be found here: Ten Questions: Carlos Motta
Carlos Motta was born in Bogotá, Colombia in 1978 and currently lives and works in New York. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the New Museum, New York; MOMA/PS1, New York; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Tate Modern, London; Röda Sten Konsthall, Gothenburg; PinchukArtCentre, Kiev; and Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, México City. He has also been included in group exhibitions at: Guggenheim Museum, New York; SF MoMA, San Francisco; Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona; Witte de With, Rotterdam; Jeu de Paume, Paris; and Castello di Rivoli, Turin. Motta was also included in the X Lyon Biennale; X Gwangju Biennale; Gothenburg International Biennale of Contemporary Art; International Film Festival Rotterdam; and Toronto International Film Festival. Motta’s recent and upcoming solo exhibitions include Mercer Union, Toronto (April 2016); P.P.O.W Gallery, New York (April 2016); Pérez Art Museum, Miami (July 2016); and MALBA-Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (October 2016). Motta won the Main Prize –Future Generation Art Prize (2014), was named a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow (2008), and has received grants from Creative Capital (2012), Art Matters (2008) and Cisneros Fontanals Foundation (CIFO) (2006).
Hordaland Art Centre based in Bergen, Norway was established 1976 as the first artist run art centre in Norway. Its activities are based around the exhibition programme with equal emphasis on seminars, presentations and dialogue. Since 1987 Hordaland Art Centre has hosted a Nordic residency programme, from 2008 also open to international artists, curators, writers and other art professionals.