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Jose Dávila in The Artist is Present


The Artist is Present features a selection of more than thirty artists, foreign and Chinese, that will show both site-specific and existing works that question the most hallowed principles of art in the modern era: originality, intention, expression. In an era where everything is reproduced, nothing really keeps the aura of originality, suggesting the urgency to overcome an old concept of counterfeit in favor of a new way to conceive copy as an indispensable tool for facing our contemporary society.

If it’s a fact that a life-size replica of the Sistine Chapel is travelling around Mexico, and it is visited as if it was a pop singer on tour, The Artist is Present might be seen as a manifesto based the concept that appreciation of a work relies on engagement with ideas rather than on simple visual gratification of an original artwork.

The show explores how originality can be reached through the act of repetition, and how originals themselves can be preserved through copies. It consists in a physical immersion in the reign of imitation, a land where the core values that used to identify with an artwork in the Western world, such as originality, intention, expression, and authorship, are dismantled. As Maurizio Cattelan said: “Copying is like a blasphemy: it could seem not respectful towards God, but at the same time is the significative recognition of its existence”.

In The Artist is Present the nature of the creative process itself results deconstructed, and with it, the idea of godlike creation: the only belief remains the conviction that originality is definitely overrated. Artists on show: John Ahearn (with Rigoberto Torres), John Armleder, Nina Beier, Brian Belott, Anne Collier, Jose Dávila, Wim Delvoye, Eric Doeringer, Sayre Gomez, Andy Hung Chi-Kin, Matt Johnson, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Kapwani Kiwanga, Ragnar Kjartansson, Josh Kline, Louise Lawler, Margaret Lee, Hannah Levy, Lu Pingyuan, Ma Jun, Nevine Mahmoud, Aleksandra Mir, Pentti Monkkonen, Philippe Parreno, Jon Rafman, Mika Rottenberg, Reena Spaulings, Sturtevant, Superflex, Oscar Tuazon, Kaari Upson, Gillian Wearing, Lawrence Weiner, Christopher Williams, XU ZHEN®, Yan Pei-Ming, Damon Zucconi.

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