On Wednesday, September 10, 2003, at 8 p.m., the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will present Amorales vs. Amorales (Challenge 2003), a wrestling performance by Carlos Amorales. The event will last approximately one hour and will take place in SFMOMA’s Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Atrium—a 6,500-square-foot, architecturally monumental space with a soaring turret and oculus that will serve as a dramatic backdrop for the performance. Hosted by In/Site, an auxiliary of SFMOMA devoted to supporting emerging and contemporary art, the performance is free and open to the public.
For the past six years, Mexican-born, Amsterdam-based Carlos Amorales has focused his artistic activities around a wrestling character named Amorales. Working in collaboration with mask-maker and former lucha libre wrestler Ray Rosas, Amorales created a character in the mold of the artist’s own visage and has staged wrestling matches in various contexts, including art museums such as the Pompidou Center in Paris and Tate Modern in London as well as the Wyndham Hotel in San Diego and a wrestling arena in Tijuana.
Bridging the worlds of art and popular culture, Amorales’s project has grown out of his fascination with the culture of lucha libre, Mexican freestyle wrestling. In this tradition, wrestlers don elaborate and colorful masks, elegant and decadent costumes, and adhere to a strict code of conduct. Under their masks, the wrestlers remain anonymous and operate exclusively under the guise of their superhero or supervillian identities. While extremely popular in Mexico as a sport and a form of entertainment, lucha libre also has underlying ritualistic and moralistic themes. The ring is a stage where good battles evil, and the masks are considered to be so sacred that stripping off an opponent’s mask results in instant disqualification. In this baroque theater, Amorales explores the relationships between public identity and private self, entertainment and reality, spectacle and sport.
In conjunction with the performance at SFMOMA, Amorales will present a lecture about his work at the San Francisco Art Institute on Friday, September 12, at 5 p.m. as part of the Friday Lecture Series organized by Tony Labat. The lecture will take place at the Art Institute’s Lecture Hall at 800 Chestnut Street. The event is free and open to the public.
Amorales graduated from the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. He has had solo exhibitions at INOVA in Milwaukee, Galerie Micheline Szwajcer in Antwerp and Green Naftali in New York, and has participated in group exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, Pompidou Center, Migros Museum in Zurich, De Appel in Amsterdam, ArtPace in San Antonio, Berlin Biennale 2001, Kunstwerke in Berlin, PS1 Museum in New York and Tate Modern in London. He is a current participant in the 2003 Venice Biennale. Amorales lives and works in Mexico City and Amsterdam.
This event is sponsored by Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam, La Coleccion Jumex, The Consulate General of the Netherlands in Los Angeles, CONACULTA (Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, Mexico) and the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Mexico City with additional support from Yvon Lambert, Paris & New York and In/Site.
This event is free and open to the public. The performance will begin at 8 p.m.; doors will open at 7:30 p.m. This event is standing room only. Space is limited.