Y Gallery is pleased to present DEUS POBRE*: Modern Sermons of Communal Lament, a solo exhibition by Carlos Motta. DEUS POBRE: Modern Sermons of Communal Lament (2011) is a video installation based on a series of performative interventions in Catholic churches in Porto, Portugal. Six ordained priests —all of whom share an interest in the theology movement known as Liberation theology— read excerpts of key sermons and texts delivered by theologians and priests since the 17th Century.
Liberation theology emerged in the 1970s in Latin America —with developments in other parts of the world— where oppression, marginalization and vulnerability have determined the social landscape since the times of the Conquest. The movement focuses on the “dialogue between the Christian tradition, social theory, and the insight of the poor into their own situation, leading to action for change.” Liberation theology underlines the political potential of the church’s mission and denounces instances when the church has been complicit with regimes of imperial and oppressive power.
Set in Portugal, DEUS POBRE revisits this particular history by asking contemporary priests to deliver, during their daily mass or for a public audience, theological-political sermons originally written by Bartolomé de las Casas (1542), António Vieira (1653-57), Gustavo Gutiérrez (1971), Óscar Romero (1977-80),and Leonardo Boff (1996). Thus the priests engage with Portugal’s colonial history and the past role of the church in missionary evangelization, as well as with its current institutional role in a globalized and socially unequal world where the majority of its population lives in abject poverty.
DEUS POBRE was commissioned and partly produced by Museu Serralves for “Às Artes, Cidadãos!”(2010-2011) —an exhibition that commemorated the 100th Anniversary of the Portuguese Republic.
Carlos Motta (b. 1978 Bogotá, Colombia) lives and works in New York. His works have been presented in solo exhibitions at New Museum, NY (2012); Museo de Arte del Banco de la República, Bogotá (2010); Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin (2010); MoMA/PS1, NY (2009); and Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2008); and in group exhibitions at venues such as Performa 11, NY (2011); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2011); Guggenheim Museum, NY (2011); Museu Serralves, Porto (2010); National Museum of Contemporary Art, Greece (2010); Creative Time, NY (2009); and “X Biennale de Lyon” (2009). Motta was named a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow in 2008 and has received grants from NYSCA and the Art Matters Foundation. He is part of the faculty at Parsons The New School of Design and the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College.