Jill Magid

Portrait

Born in 1973 in Bridgeport (United States), lives and works in New York (United States)

“The secret itself is much more beautiful than its revelation”: the work of American conceptual artist Jill Magid is devoted to the intimate relationship between power and secrecy. Since 2013, Magid has been working to understand the consequences for an artist’s historical legacy, of the acquisition of his or her archive and copyright by a private company or business. Magid has focused her research on the Mexican architect Luis Barragàn, whose archive was bought by the industrialist Rolf Fehlbaum as an engagement gift for his fiancée, the architectural historian Federica Zanco. After being refused access to the archive several times, Jill Magid proposed a swap: the repatriation of Barragàn’s professional archive from Switzerland (where it is currently held) in exchange for a diamond (an engagement gift) made from some of Barragàn’s ashes: “the body of the artist, in exchange for his works.”  The disinterment of Barragàn’s ashes, to this end, is the subject of Magid’s film The Exhumation. While waiting for Zanco’s response, Magid continues her work, which seeks to explore “the intersection between psychological and legal identity, international property rights and intellectual property, the author and his or her estate.” In this context, Magid’s Tapete de Flores is part of a series of ofrendas (“offerings” or “altars”) inspired by those created in Mexico for the traditional celebration of the Day of the Dead, representing the journey shared by the living and the departed. Lastly, with no legal permission to reproduce Barragàn’s architectural works, Magid chooses, instead, to frame a copy of the book Barragàn, published in 2001, like a photograph, making visible what has been confiscated from the collective memory. 

With the support of SODIF

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