Coming to theatres this Friday, May 24:
Hot Docs, Sheffield, Rotterdam, Dokufest, New Orleans, Camden, Docaviv, Docs Against Gravity, Ambulante, Antenna, RIDM, Palm Springs, Hamptons, Vancouver, Göteborg, Portland, Salem, DocPoint
The artist/filmmaker engages in a polite battle of wills over access to – and the legacy of – a celebrated Mexican architect’s work.
The culmination of a five-year project that has included art installations, exhibitions, and publications, Jill Magid’s first feature interrogates the contested legacy of Luis Barragán. Barragán, a well-respected Mexican architect, died in 1988, and eventually, his family sold his archive, name, and work to a private Swiss corporation, Vitra. Supposedly, the purchase was made by Vitra’s Rolf Fehlbaum as a gift to his then-fianceé, Federica Zanco, but, in Magid’s view, Vitra consistently has blocked access to Barragán’s work by pretty much anyone, including other artists or scholars, and she has used this as the basis for her multi-year, multi-media project. Taking a personal, essayistic approach, the artist chronicles her correspondence with Zanco, the archive’s director, while traveling through Mexico and elsewhere, tracing Barragán’s steps and concocting an audacious offer of her own to rival Fehlbaum’s alleged grand gesture to Zanco. While the conceit of the film – and Magid’s constant presence – may wear some viewer’s patience thin, its larger themes remain fascinating enough to more or less excuse its shortcomings.