b. 1970, Mexico City
Carlos Amorales was born in Mexico City in 1970. He traveled to Amsterdam in 1992 to study at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and then at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten (1996–97). He has completed residencies with Atelier Calder, Saché, France (2012); Mac/Val, Val-de-Marne, France (2011); and the Smithsonian Artists Research Fellowship, Washington, D.C. (2010).
Amorales’s practice encompasses animation, drawing, installation, video, and performance; he also collaborates with professional animators, composers, designers, musicians—and even wrestlers. Having matured under the influence of both Mexican and European cultures, Amorales frequently explores the commonalities and disparities of the two milieus by juxtaposing their distinctive vocabularies. His work is also deeply personal—reflective of emotional introversion and at times obscure, it journeys into a dark world of fantasy, blurring the line between the real and the imagined.
In 1999, fascinated by dreams and nightmares, the uncanny, Goth culture, and phantasmagoria, Amorales began to assemble Liquid Archive (1999–2000), a digital image collection that represents his ongoing quest to understand these cultural and psychic phenomena. In later works such as Black Cloud (2007), these concerns remain apparent. Black Cloud is an immersive installation that portrays a dark, fanciful underworld. Thirty thousand black paper moths of thirty-six different types crowd every corner of the exhibition space, inducing in many viewers a claustrophobic sense of anxiety. A short accompanying video reveals the techniques used to produce the insects as ingeniously simple, but does not entirely demystify their creator, instead casting the artist in his workshop as a kind of sorcerer, a creator of fear.
At home both in everyday society and in the shadowy world of the imagination, Amorales works across a broad creative spectrum. While most of his work emerges from an eerie realm in which the human figure might appear as a ghost or morph into an animal, he also engages with the real world by addressing prosaic social issues. Amorales’s project Nuevos Ricos! (2003–09) takes the form of a record label he founded with Mexican musician Julián Lede. Nuevos Ricos! was presented for the first time in an exhibition context at the Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany, in 2009, where it consisted of a multidisciplinary exhibit incorporating a series of lectures, musical acts, performances, and discussions of piracy and copyright. In an echo of the editions issued by Fluxus, Amorales’s project also involves the sale of merchandise, confusing the distinction between artwork, reproduction, and product.
Amorales has had solo exhibitions at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, Argentina (2006); Philadelphia Museum of Art (2008); Kunsthalle Fredericianum, Kassel, Germany (2009); Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome (2010); Centro Fotográfico Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Oaxaca (2011); and Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2013). His work was also included in the Venice Biennale (2003); Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre, Brazil (2005); Performa, New York (2007); Havana Biennial (2009); and Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates (2013). Amorales lives and works in Mexico City.