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Dark Mirror: An installation by Mexican artist Carlos Amorales at IMMA

The first showing in Ireland of Dark Mirror, 2005, a double video projection by the leading Mexican artist Carlos Amorales, opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday 27 February 2008. Dark Mirror, acquired by the Museum in 2005, is the result of a collaboration between Amorales, German graphic designer André Pahl and Mexican composer José María Serralde. In Dark Mirror Amorales draws us into a world of menacing fantasy, in a nightmarish animation depicting man and beast in apocalyptic scenes. The imagery of the ominous landscape is rooted in contemporary popular symbols and Mexican icons. Black and white graphics of animals, humans and machinery dissolve from one entity into another, merging and separating, creating a sense of ambiguity and thereby deliberately thwarting any chance of identifying with one central character or engaging with a linear narrative.
André Pahl and José María Serralde were asked by Amorales to respond to his Liquid Archive, a collection of digital drawings began in 1999 which now comprises more than a thousand drawings. Pahl selected specific drawings from the archive which he sequenced into a silent animation. Serralde, a silent movie pianist, also worked on a selection of images and, without seeing Pahl’s animation, composed music to accompany it. The animation and music were then united by Amorales to form Dark Mirror. The two are combined as a double projection on a two-sided screen – one side a video of Serralde performing his composition on a grand piano, and the other, Pahl’s soundless animation.

Liquid Archive’s silhouetted drawings of wolves, monkeys, birds, humans, planes, guns, and particularly the ubiquitous imagery of skulls lend themselves to Amorales’s world of dark fantasy. The drawings are made from a technique similar to rotoscoping – widely used in the animation industry -which uses live-action film to develop animated films. Amorales makes the drawings from photographs he has taken of objects or appropriated images and graphics. The result is highly malleable digital vector drawings of objects and components which are then archived and categorised. Even if an entry is left unused, it is never deleted from the archive. This stock of component elements can be reconfigured and recycled repeatedly in different media and used to form the basis of paintings, performances, sculptures, videos and animations.

Amorales first gained international recognition with the performance piece Amorales vs Amorales, 2000 – 2003, in which a fictional wrestling match was staged. A mask representing the fictional character ‘Amorales’ was used as a type of working tool – not dissimilar to the components of Liquid Archive – by different individuals to perform in matches. The mask was continuously emptied and refilled with different ‘contents’ and used to explore the idea of shifting identities within the restricted framework of a mask.

In 2003 Amorales formed Nuevos Ricos with musician Julián Lede, which combines notions of visual arts, performance, and music in the form of a music label and explores the fantasy related to rock music, especially the bootleg culture and idealisation of rock culture that evolved from the onetime ban of rock music and records in Mexico. Nuevos Ricos manages bands and performers from Mexico, Argentina and Europe. In 2005 Amorales initiated the animation collective, Broken Animals, a group of draughtsmen, animators, media researchers and a musician which explores the possibilities of Liquid Archive to make animated films and artworks. The group programmes monthly seminars with guest speakers which have included artists, philosophers, filmmakers, musicians and a traditional animator.

Carlos Amorales was born in Mexico in 1970, and studied in Spain and Holland before returning to Mexico City where he now lives and works. Recent exhibitions include the Moore Space, Miami, 2007; Yvon Lambert, New York, 2007; Daros-Latinamerica Foundation, Zürich, 2007; MALBA, Buenos Aires, 2006, and Milton Keynes Gallery, Milton Keynes, 2006. His work is featured in many public and private collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; La Colección Jumex, Mexico City, and the Margulies Collection, Miami.

Artist Talk – Lecture Room
On Tuesday 26 February at 5.00pm, Carlos Amorales will present a lecture on his practice and discuss his installation Dark Mirror. Admission is free, but booking is essential on tel: + 353 1 612 9948 or email: [email protected].

Carlos Amorales: Dark Mirror continues until 11 May 2008

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Saturday: 10.00am – 5.30pm
except Wednesday: 10.30am – 5.30pm
Sunday and Bank Holidays: 12 noon – 5.30pm
Monday and Friday 21 March: Closed

For further information and images please contact Monica Cullinane or Patrice Molloy at Tel: +353 1 612 9900; Email: [email protected]

14 February 2008

Important Notice


We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June.  A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. While we prepare to open our next exhibition Hilary Heron: A Retrospective on 24 May, there are two exhibitions to see Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s gardens and café are open to the public.