b. 1978, Colombia

Carlos Motta Biography

Carlos Motta is an internationally exhibiting multi-disciplinary artist born in Bogota, Colombia, and based in New York. His highly performative and documentary practice challenges hegemonic historical discourse and current social conditions with counternarratives highlighting suppressed histories and minority groups.

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Carlos Motta studied photography at the School of Visual Arts, New York, graduating with a BFA in 2001. He later completed an MFA at Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College, New York, in 2003, and graduated from the Whitney Museum of American Art's Independent Study Program in 2005. He has since worked on projects spanning multiple mediums, including film, installation, drawing, sculpture, web, performances, and symposia.

Carlos Motta's artworks are aimed both at sharing repressed histories and highlighting the contemporary social and political struggles of sexual, gender, and ethnic minorities. As the artist explained in an interview with Hyperallergic: 'I make projects that look at the historical and contemporary processes that have engendered prejudice, hate, and discrimination.'

For the series 'Towards a Homoerotic Historiography' (2013–2014), Motta created gold-washed silver figurines based on artefacts from the ancient Americas depicting men engaged in sexual acts, highlighting the depiction of sex in ancient American culture, suppressed by hegemonic colonial norms of history. In the short film Nefandus (2013), presented at the Taipei Biennial 2020, he sought to shed light on untold histories of homoeroticism in the Americas.

For the web project We Who Feel Differently (2011–ongoing), Carlos Motta gathered interviews from queer artists, academics, politicians, and activists exploring ideas of contemporary queer culture. His The Crossing (2017) video installation presented portraits of 11 LGBTQI refugees telling their stories of flight to the Netherlands. In such works, Motta seeks to empower his marginalised subjects.

Through his own performances too, Motta presents a marginalised voice as a queer artist. Named a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow in 2008, he has presented his work to an international audience, with numerous exhibitions worldwide. His art has also been shown in numerous events and biennials including the 12th Taipei Biennial (2020), the 11th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2020), the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo (2016), and the 10th Gwangju Biennale (2014).

Carlos Motta's art can be found in major institutional collections, including The Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Motta also has mentored emerging artists in various programmes. In 2019 he became an associate professor of interdisciplinary practice at Pratt Institute in New York.

Carlos Motta Solo Exhibitions include:

We Got Each Other's Back, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (2020); Formas de libertad, Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín, Colombia (2017); The Crossing, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2017); Réquiem, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (2016); For Democracy There Must Be Love, Röda Sten Konsthall, Gothenburg, Sweden (2015); Gender Talents: A Special Address, Tate Modern, London (2013); We Who Feel Differently, New Museum, New York (2012).

Carlos Motta Group Exhibitions include:

Soft Power, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2019); Working for the Future Past, Seoul Museum of Art (2017); Under the Same Sun: Art from Latin America Today, Museo Jumex, Mexico City (2016); Found in Translation, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2011); The Politics of Art, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (2010); Night School, New Museum, New York (2008).

Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2020

Carlos Motta Featured Artworks

Nefandus by Carlos Motta contemporary artwork moving image
Carlos Motta Nefandus, 2013 Video documentary
Taipei Fine Arts Museum

Carlos Motta Recent Exhibitions

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