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Berlin / NY / Shanghai Time

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Sebastián Díaz Morales was born in 1975 in the Argentine city of Comodoro Rivadavia. His pictorial language bears the mark of this “Capital of the Wind”, as it is called, situated in an isolated spot between the Atlantic Ocean and the Patagonian Desert. As Morales himself says, the experience of growing up in an extreme environment in the middle of nowhere led to a special way of perceiving reality.

His films and videos, which he has been producing since 1998, show that reality is nothing more than a figment of the imagination. Every figure and every narrative in them is a metaphor for the boundary between reality and fiction. His films revolve around the suspension of time and the displacement of space and time through the constant dreaming and reconstruction of reality.

Morales works with various filmic techniques, for example montage, cartoon-like dissociations or slow motion. Sound also plays a leading part, whether in the form of noise or film music. Some of the works are reminiscent of science fiction. Their narrative style and dialogues are of a minimalist character, yet their imagery evokes associations by which the viewer discovers a new take on reality.

His work has been exhibited widely at many prominent venues—such as the Tate Modern, London; Centre Pompidou; Stedelijk Museum and De Appel, Amsterdam; Le Fresnoy, Roubaix; CAC, Vilnius; Art in General, New York City; Ludwig Museum, Budapest; Biennale Sao Pablo; Biennale of Sydney; Miro Foundation, Barcelona; MUDAM, Luxemburg; and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon.

His works can be found at the collections of the Centre Pompidou; Tate Modern; Fundación Jumex, Mexico; Sandretto Foundation, Torino; Constantini collection, Buenos Aires; Pinault Foundation, Paris; Sammlung-Goetz, Munich; and the Fundacion de Arte Moderna, Museo Berardo, Lisbon between others.

In 2009 he was awarded with a Guggenheim Fellowship.

His pieces ‘Suspension’ and ‘Pasajes IV’ are exhibiting at the 57th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia, Viva Arte Viva.

Insight / Suspension / The Lost Object

2K video, 12min, 2012

Produced with financial support of the Fonds voor Beeldende Kunsten, The Netherlands and Premio MAMBA / Fundacion telefonica.

Insight is the total abstraction. A carefully assembled film-crew appears like a tableau vivant facing the viewer. Then suddenly, they shatter- an analogy of breaking through the surface to expose the simulation- a mirror slowly explodes into a thousand pieces.

Filmed in beautifully rendered high definition Insight is a tribute to the camera obscuras of old mingled with a critical spirit directed towards the mass media today. Regarded as a phenomenon brought about by a world lacking distinction between real and simulacra, Diaz Morales borrows media industry tactics to expose and undermine. Revealing rather than concealing his methods allows for a moment of realisation to occur. As the pieces of glass crumble into tiny galaxies, context is deconstructed and the universalising tendency of Diaz Morales' practice literally portrayed.

With timeless grace the artist contemplates the nature of existence.

HD video, 14:41min, 2014
Produced with financial support of the Mondriaan Fonds.

It is in the nature of men to be absorbed by the future as if magnetized by timeless gravity, falling deeper and deeper into their own humanity. And if in Walter Benjamin’s angelus novus we picture his gaze of horror, shaken and frightened by what he sees as he gazes upon the past, the man in his fall evinces unperturbed passivity towards the future.

As in a dream state, through that suspended fall the man’s mind is a container holding past, present and future in a single consciousness. It is in this construction, as in a dream, in his mind, where man envisions and shapes the world.

Out there, there may be no more than void, and the fall may be eternal.

Perhaps this is the reason why we recurrently dream about falling. Perhaps falling isn’t a dream at all—perhaps falling is what’s real.

The Lost Object
2K video, 16:46min, 2016

The Lost Object is the final video in a trilogy that examines the complex mechanisms of how we perceive the constructed nature of reality—and how this construction is performed, both in the realm our imagination and the one of film. As curator Cuauhtémoc Medina notes in a recent monograph dedicated to Diaz Morales’ work, the artist approaches film as a “factory of simulacra,” a conceptual thread that carries throughout his trilogy, which began with Insight (2012) and was followed by Suspension (2014).

A slow, steady shot travels into the set of The Lost Object, accompanied by the din of a whirring film reel that seems to methodically introduce the viewer into a world of artifice: a soundstage containing the set of a curiously dated, yet nonetheless anonymous room. The scenario slowly begins to unravel, disarticulating both the language and apparatus of filmmaking. Following Jean Baudrillard’s notion that the world has disappeared behind its own representation and therefore its impossible to return to it, The Lost Object proposes a new world in which fiction and reality merge into one single element. In this universe, fiction is autonomous and auto-generates itself.

Courtesy of the Artist and Galerie carlier | gebauer, Berlin.
Image Credits: Sebastán Díaz Morales, Insight, 2K video, 12min, 2012