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The Thread of Life. Embroidery 1994-2015. Carlos Arias


For over two decades, embroidery has served as an ideal medium for the Chilean artist Carlos Arias to question conventions of gender, class, and race, which together constitute colonial structures of art in the Americas. Through his work as a painter and embroiderer, the artist has engaged in a critique of representation and created a set of works that subvert different aspects of painting, together with the dichotomies of the masculine and feminine, high and low, materiality and desire.


Until May 1st, 2016
Helen Escobedo Gallery and Rampas Gallery

Carlos Arias


(Santiago de Chile, 1964). His family move to Mexico as a result of the military dictatorship, and he lived here from 1975 to 1983. He returned to Chile to study visual arts, and later undertook a masters at the UNAM in 1988.


In 1994 he chose to abandon painting and take up embroidery as a mode of conceptual reflection on manual labor. In 2004 he returned to painting.


Leading critics and curators have taken an interest in his work, including María Guerra, Olivier Debroise, Giorgio Verzotti, Cuauhtémoc Medina, Anthony Bond, Maaretta Jaukkuri, Betti-Sue Hertz, Nelly Richard, Osvaldo Sánchez, Magalí Arriola, Miguel Cereceda and Gerardo Mosquera.


His work has been presented together with that of Mike Kelley, Anish Kapoor, Cildo Meireles, Mona Hatoum, Wim Delvoye, Santiago Sierra, Gabriel Orozco, Joseph Beuys, Alighiero Boetti, Julio Galán, Nan Goldin, Pierre et Gilles, Cézanne, Picasso, Bacon, Bourgeois, Isamo Noguchi and Warhol, among others.


He has represented Mexico at numerous exhibitions, including: the first Liverpool Biennial, (England, 1999); Il Racconto del Filo (Italy, 2003); Eco: arte contemporáneo mexicano (Madrid, 2005); Plataforma 01 (Puebla, 2006); La era de la discrepancia (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Malba, Buenos Aires; and Pinacoteca de Sao Paulo, 2007 and 2008);Fourth Prague Biennial (2009); Neomexicanismos (Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico, 2011); El hombre al desnudo (Museo Nacional de Arte, 2014); Autorretratos en lo común (Museo textil de Oaxaca, 2014); ARS 01 Kiasma, (Helsinki, Finland, 2001) –considered the Nordic Documenta.He has presented his work at the San Diego Museum of Art (2002); and the Museum Beelden aan Zee (Holland, 2002).


The exhibition The Thread of Lifewas presented at the Capilla del Arte, Puebla, between May and September 2015. Currently, part of it is on show at the Museo de los Pintores Oaxaqueños (MUPO, Oaxaca).


The artist was awarded the FONDART grant from the Chilean government to produce a project connected to thread. He was also a member of Mexico’s National System of Artists (2004-2007).


His work is to be found in a number of collections, including the Museum of Textiles in Lodz, Poland; the Museum Beelden aan Zee, The Hague, Holland; San Diego Museum of Art (United States); Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, MUAC, UNAM; Fundación Cultural Televisa, Mexico; and the Fundación Universidad de las Américas, Puebla.


He has taught at the Universidad de las Américas, Puebla, since 1998.




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MUESTRARIO DE COLOR / Color Sampler. Bordado/tela impresa, 1996. 50 x 100 cm. Colección particular, Puebla.




ROJO Y NEGRO  /  Red and Black. Bordado/Bordado indígena de San Pablito. 1994. 100 x 120 cm. Pahuatlán, Puebla, México.



SACO / Jacket. Bordado / tela, 1996-99. 115 x 175 cm.
Colección: Fundación Universidad de las Américas, Puebla.





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