Jill Magid: The Proposal

The Proposal presents the climactic moment within artist Jill Magid's extended, multimedia project The Barragán Archives, which examines the legacy of Mexican architect and Pritzker Prize-winner Luis Barragán (1902–1988). The multi-year project poses piercing, radical, and pragmatic questions about the forms of power, public access, and copyright that construct artistic legacy.

Through this work, Magid asks, “What happens to an artist’s legacy when it is owned by a corporation and subject to a country’s laws where none of his architecture exists? Who can access it? Who can’t?”

In his will, Barragán split his archive into two parts. Along with the vast majority of his architecture, Barragán's personal archive remains in Mexico at his home, Casa Barragán, which is now a museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1995, Rolf Fehlbaum, the Chairman of the Swiss furniture company Vitra, purchased Barragán’s professional archive, including the rights to his name, work, and all photographs taken of it, and, it is said, gifted it to his fiancé, Federica Zanco. Zanco now serves as Director of the Barragan Foundation. For the last twenty years, however, the archive has been publicly inaccessible, and housed in a bunker at Vitra corporate headquarters.

The Proposal achieves a thrilling and unexpected salvo in Magid’s long-term engagement with Barragán, Zanco, Barragán’s descendants, the Mexican Government, and the indispensable creative legacy that binds them. Through the public exhibition of The Proposal, Magid will present Zanco with the gift of a two-carat diamond, grown from the cremated remains of Barragán's body and set into a ring, in exchange for the return of his archive to Mexico.

The exhibition includes the engagement ring and diamond inscribed with the text I am wholeheartedly yours. A series of vitrines contain Magid’s correspondence and agreements with the Barragán family and Mexican Government, gemological certification documents, and her proposal letter to Zanco. A video, The Exhumation, documents the exhumation ceremony, in which a silver horse—the precise weight of the removed ashes—was symbolically gifted into Barragán's urn. Additionally, a large-scale Tapete de Flores, produced by Mexico City-based artisans Mario Arturo Aguilar Gutierrez and Elesban Ernesto Sandoval Diaz in collaboration with Magid, is representative of the “carpet of flowers” made annually for The Day of the Dead celebrations of family members who have died.

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Cite: "Jill Magid: The Proposal" 11 Aug 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/793174/jill-magid-the-proposal> ISSN 0719-8884

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