Artes Mundi 5 Prize Goes to Teresa Margolles


Artes Mundi, an international art organization based in Cardiff, Wales, has awarded the Artes Mundi 5 International Art prize to Mexican artist Teresa Margolles. The panel of judges, made up of seven respected international curators and chaired by Tim Marlow (director of exhibitions at White Cube, London), chose Margolles from a short list of seven international artists to receive the $64,000 prize—the largest cash prize in the United Kingdom.

Margolles has received worldwide acclaim for her work focusing on the experience of drug cartel-related violence and death in northern Mexico. During the 2009 Venice Biennale she had relatives of the cartels’ victims mop the floors of the Mexican Pavilion with water and blood from a morgue in Mexico. For Artes Mundi, the artist presented Plancha (2010), in which water used to cleanse dead bodies in a morgue drips from the ceiling onto hotplates, evaporating on impact with a conspicuous hiss, and 32 años Levantamiento y traslado donde cayo el cuerpo asesinado del artista Luis Miguel Suro (2006) for which Margolles transported and exhibited the tiles from the floor on which her close friend, gifted artist Luis Miguel Suro, was murdered in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2004.

Artes Mundi has also announced the recipient of this year’s Derek Williams Trust Purchase Award, a $48,000 prize used to acquire a work by one of the competition’s shortlisted artists for the contemporary art collection at the Amgueddfa Cymru—National Museum Wales. The institution will purchase Cuban artist Tania Bruguera’s piece Displacement (1998–99), a video of a performance in which the artist, dressed as an African icon used in Cuban spiritual practices, goes out into the streets of Havana to search for people who have broken their promises to the spirit.

The short list for both awards also included Miriam Bäckström (Sweden), Phil Collins (England), Sheela Gowda (India), Darius Mikšys (Lithuania) and Apolonija Šušteršič (Slovenia).