Letter on the Blind for the Use of Those Who See
Letter on the Blind for the Use of Those Who See was an exhibition by Javier Téllez during his residency at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery.
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Javier Téllez. Letter on the Blind, For the Use of Those Who See. 2008
In 2009, Javier Téllez was the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery's international artist in residence. Letter on the Blind for the Use of Those Who See was his first exhibition in New Zealand.
The exhibition title pays tribute to Javier’s mother, who lost her sight. It was also inspired by the Hindu fable “The Blind Men and the Elephant”, in which six blind men feel parts of an elephant and give different descriptions of them. The fable teaches us about the difficulties that the blind and the sighted have in understanding each other’s experiences.
Javier was born in Venezuela and now lives in New York. In his work, he places peripheral communities (such as people with disabilities or mental illness) in the front of contemporary art. His work is often based on research and dwells on the social and political histories of the locations where he developed them. Javier works mostly with traditional installations and moving images, but also includes elements of performance and sculpture.
Javier’s interest in film stems from spending time in the projection booth at the cinema in Venezuela that his grandfather established in 1911. During his residency, Javier exhibited Intermission as part of the One Day Sculpture project. Set in the 1920s, Intermission was a living sculpture that featured a live lion prowling the stalls of a movie theatre, in the New Zealand coastal town of Ōpunakē, during a continuous screening of MGM's infamous opening credits.
The One Day Sculpture Project was an initiative of Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University College of Creative Arts Toi Rauwhārangi and research consultancy Litmus. It was commissioned by the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and curated by Mercedes Vicente.
Javier's residency at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery was supported by the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki and Creative New Zealand.
Published 02 November 2023
March to June 2009
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