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07 Jun 2009

Carlos Amorales: The Skeleton Image Constellation at Cabaret Voltaire

© Carlos Amorales, Liquid Archive
Category: Alphabet, 9.7 cm x 14.1 cm, Mexico City, 2009

Carlos Amorales: The Skeleton Image Constellation


Exhibition: 20. May – 12. July 2009

Opening hours
Tuesday – Sunday 12:30pm - 6:30pm
Saturday 11am – 5pm

+41 43 268 57 20

Spiegelgasse 1
CH-8001 Zürich

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CARLOS AMORALES: 'The Skeleton Image Constellation'

Precisely two years ago Mexican artist Carlos Amorales presented his 'Liquid Archive' with the exhibition 'Dark Mirror' at the Daros Exhibition in Zürich. Using a laser he cut out a large part of the forms of the digital 'Liquid Archive' out of black paper. These fragile paper works were displayed in specially produced showcases.

Similar fragile papers are stored in numerous Dada archives in Europe. Contrary to the paper works in Daros Exhibition, these were originally cheap mass-produced products, which were created for public consumption in the form of magazines, posters and flyers. Because these artifacts were produced on very cheap paper, they are very difficult to preserve.

For the exhibition 'The Skeleton Image Constellation' Carlos Amorales and Adrian Notz visited the Kunsthaus Zürich, the exhibition 'Art is Arp' in Strasbourg, the Arp Foundation in Solduno, the Sprengel Museum in Hanover, the Arp Foundation Rolandseck and the Arp Foundation in Meudon to look at the Arp works more closely and discuss them with scientists and conservators.

In these discussions, they discovered that the working process of Arp, was as important as the finished product. The core of this work was comprised of a lexicon of forms, which he called 'Découpage'. Using these stencils he composed his work sometimes very specifically, sometimes by chance ('…selon du lois du hazard') and at times even inviting others to play with the forms in his studio.

Other examples for lexicons of forms can be found in Kurt Schwitter's work in the elements he utilized for his collages, or in Max Ernst's work in the wooden pieces he used in creating 'Frottages'. In Man Ray's work this can be seen in the composition of objects on the photopaper he chose in the production of his photograms.

Carlos Amorales coined the definition 'Skeleton Images' to describe the lexicons of these Dada artists. Also the data of his 'Liquid Archive' are comprised 'Skeleton Images' used to produce his art works. Amorales sees the 'Skeleton Image' as one degree in the process of creating a work. There is a 'Source' of the image, for example the nature in the valley of Maggia in 1915 in the case of Arp, and in the case of Amorales' photos, magazines, logos, masks, etc. Then there is the 'Skeleton Image', the 'Image' which is the artwork itself and the 'Ghost Image' which is a reproduction of the work whether that be conscious or accidental in nature.

Amorales often works in collaboration with other artists, musicians, designers, animation artists, tarot card readers, filmmakers and others. Similar to Arp, Amorales invites others to 'play' with his 'Liquid Archive' to produce new works. The 'Liquid Archive' is therefore virtually open-source.

In the exhibition, 'The Skeleton Image Constellation' at the Cabaret Voltaire, for the first time ever, the 'Liquid Archive' will not only be exhibited, but open and available to the public in the form of 1,040 different post cards in small editions of 100 cards each.

Here, the 'Liquid Archive' doesn't manifest itself as a precious artifact like Amorales' laser cut- outs, but as a cheap mass-produced product, similar to Dadaist magazines and flyers. In this form, the 'Liquid Archive' continues to be a 'Skeleton Image'.

Curated by Adrian Notz

Special Thanks to Hans-Michael Herzog (Daros-Latinamerica), Mark Divo and Sonja Vectomov.
Thank you to Marc Dachy, Chiara Jaeger (Fondation Arp Clamart), Walpurga Krupp (Hans Arp Sitftung Rolandseck), Karin Orchard (Sprengelmuseum Hannover), Mirjam Varadinis (Kunsthaus Zürich)
Supported by the art foundation Landis & Gyr in Zug, the Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation and the the City of Zurich.