In this new commission for the BAMPFA Art Wall, entitled Ghost Demonstration, Amorales draws from the multiple histories of mural art in Mexico, the political demonstrations that occurred in Berkeley in the 1960s (as well as more recent events), and protests in the United Kingdom in the 1980s. In order to make this monumental mural, the artist used stencils of slogans from Berkeley protest posters as well as fragments from songs by British anarcho-punk bands from the eighties who disavowed Thatcher-era neoliberal policies. These stencils were held up by assistants, whose silhouetted figures are imprinted along the wall. The ghostly outlines of the human figure point to historically significant moments in various times and diverse cultures, while reinforcing the importance of remaining socially and politically engaged in the present, as many of the slogans resonate with the current cultural climate.
Born and raised in Mexico City, where he now lives and works, Carlos Amorales studied in Amsterdam for many years and has had numerous residencies across Europe and the United States. As a result of this broad international experience, his interests bridge multiple cultural spheres, and the artist often seeks to interweave aspects of these disparate realms of influence while also highlighting their distinctive vocabularies. Indeed, language and the challenges of communication are abiding interests in his work. Often utilizing sounds, gestures, or symbols, Amorales points to the potential for art to embody new forms of transmission. He works with diverse media—ranging from animation, video, and drawing to large-scale installation and performance—to explore the complex terrain extending between image, sign, and cognition. The act of translation is often at the root of Amorales’s work: musical instruments can transform into animate characters, human figures become ghostly silhouettes, and narratives reassemble into unintelligible actions.