Carlos Motta: The Good LifeJanuary 18 - March 30, 2008
The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is pleased to present “Carlos Motta: The Good Life,” the first museum presentation of an ambitious work by Carlos Motta, on view January 18 – March 30, 2008. “The Good Life,” a long-term, in-progress, experimental documentary project, engages and critiques documentary practice itself. It is a relevant examination of the regional history, perception and effects of US interventionist policies in
Since 2005, Carlos Motta has recorded over 300 video interviews with civilians on the streets of twelve cities in Latin America. The questions he asked, on individual perceptions of US interventionism and foreign policy, democracy, leadership, and governance, resulted in an extremely wide spectrum of opinion, which varies according to local situations and forms of government in each country. The resulting footage is the basis of “The Good Life.” Informed by conceptual documentary traditions the project references the approach of cinema vérité classics such as Chris Marker’s Le Jolie Mai (1963) and Vilgot Sjöman’s I am curious (Yellow) (1967), which began to study the notion of public opinion as mediated construction.
In this iteration, created for the Project Space, Motta’s interviews with persons in Bogota, Buenos Aires, Managua, Mexico City, Santiago and Tegucigalpa, serve as both a conceptual and formal framework. Arranged in an open structure that evokes a classical space for the exercising of democracy, these conversations shed light on the effects of political intervention, and the public perception of political concepts, on the formation of national and individual subjectivities. The exhibition also comprises a series of accompanying photographs, shot during visits to each city, and a takeaway poster featuring texts commissioned from artists Ashley Hunt, Naeem Mohaiemen and Oliver Ressler; and political philosopher Maria Mercedes Gómez that answer the question, “What is democracy to you?”
Carlos Motta (b.
He has had solo projects at Winkleman Gallery, New York, NY; rum46, Aarhus, Denmark; Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT; Kevin Bruk Gallery, Miami, FL; and La Alianza Francesca, Bogota, Colombia. His work has been shown in numerous group exhibitions, at venues including CCS Bard Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; Fries Museum, Groningen, Holland, among others.
Motta is the editor of artwurl.org, and faculty at the International Center of Photography and Parsons The New School of Design in New York.
This exhibition is organized by 2007-2008 Whitney Lauder Curatorial Fellow Stamatina Gregory and will be accompanied by a brochure publication.
ICA Programs in Conjunction with "Carlos Motta: The Good Life"
Whenever Wednesday: Carlos Motta and Ann Farnsworth-Alvear
Wednesday, February 27 @ 7pm
Historian Ann Farnsworth-Alvear, Director of Penn's Program in Latin American & Latino Studies, and artist Carlos Motta discuss their respective explorations of Latin American history and politics.
Friday, March 7 @ 1pm
Conversation: What is Democracy to You?
March 7–9, 1PM
In conjunction with this exhibition, artist Carlos Motta and curator Stamatina Gregory will lead a conversation over three days with a group of interested participants. Together we will approach the question “What is democracy to you?” from a variety of perspectives in an attempt to create a set of meanings, responses, problems and solutions around this concept.
If you would like to participate, can commit to all sessions, and have ideas to contribute, let us know why this question is important to you (one page or less) at firstname.lastname@example.org by February 20.
The program is limited to 10 core participants, who will be selected to represent a diversity of opinions and interests. This event however is also open to the general public.
ICA is grateful for funding provided by The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Dietrich Foundation, Inc., the Overseers Board for the Institute of Contemporary Art, friends and members of ICA, and the University of Pennsylvania.
The artist wishes to thank Kevin Bruk (Kevin Bruk Gallery), Alberto Chehebar, Ella Fontanals-Cisneros, and Solita Mishaan for their generous support of this exhibition.
Images, top to bottom: Carlos Motta, The Good Life, video still, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, 2005-2008...Carlos Motta, The Good Life, video still, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2005-2008...Carlos Motta, The Good Life, video still, Managua, Nicaragua, 2005-2008.