Jill Magid
The Exhumation

In 1995, the personal and professional archives of the Mexican architect Luis Barragán were acquired (including the rights to the name and the work of the architect) by the Swiss furniture enterprise Vitra. Frederica Zanco, wife of the owner of Vitra, had received these archives as an engagement present, rather than a solitaire diamond. In this video, The Exhumation, the artist poses the question: how to navigate the laws that render Barragán in public space? The artist managed to convince the Mexican congress and the family to use the ashes of the architect to turn them into a diamond. Mounted in a ring, the diamond was intended to serve as a bargaining chip to convince the Swiss heiress to retrocede the archives to the Mexican state. By developing long-term relationships with various personal, government and corporate entities, Magid explores the intersection of psychological identity with national identity and repatriation, international property rights and copyright, the author and the property.

Jill Magid is a conceptual artist specialising in the infiltration of control organs and power systems. Her performance-based practice centres on the frontier between art and life, and underscores the absurdity of our relationship to institutions. Her works put into light the relationships between intimacy and power; the existential condition of the individual in the public sphere; and the emotional, philosophic, and juridical tensions that link us to institutional power. Magid stages relations based on the dynamics of seduction with various organizations, such as the army, the police, or the secret services. Her work reveals the intense emotional charges generated by these relations between individuals and structures of authority.