We are excited to share with you, in an unprecedented collaboration between LABOR, Fundación AMA and Juan Yarur, that the Centre Pompidou has chosen as one of its latest acquisitions The Barragán Archives (2013-2016) by Jill Magid. 

LABOR takes pride in working with North American artist Jill Magid since 2011. We are particularly delighted to celebrate today one of her most renowned bodies of work.

Entering into the Centre Pompidou’s permanent collection are seven central works from Magid’s The Barragán Archives series, including sculpture, installation, photography and drawing from Woman with Sombrero, the first chapter of the artist’s boundary-pushing exploration of legacy, access, and copyright. The museum has also acquired The Proposal (2018), Magid’s award-winning feature-length documentary that uses film to explore the questions raised throughout the project.

Exploring what it means for an artist’s legacy to be owned by a corporation, The Barragán Archives is a multi-media investigation centered around the legacy of Pritzker Prize winning Mexican architect Luis Barragán (1902–1988). Most of Barragán’s architecture, along with his personal archive remains in Mexico, yet his professional archive —including the rights to his name and work— was acquired in 1995 by the Swiss company Vitra, where it has remained largely inaccessible ever since. The archive is directed by the wife of Vitra’s chairman who had allegedly bought it for her as an engagement gift in lieu of a ring.

When refused access to Barragán’s professional archive and warned of the risk of copyright infringement if she reproduced his work, Magid took this warning as an invitation, shaping the conceptual framework for her project for the next few years. Inserting herself into the embroiled story of Barragán’s legacy by building relationships with the major stakeholders concerning his life, work, and memory, Magid used the law as raw material, creating gestures that make space for that which she does not know and cannot see. The resulting texts, objects, installations, and performances push the limits, but just avoid, copy infringement. The Proposal film follows Magid as she develops the last chapter of this investigation –resulting in a truly unorthodox proposition that forces its recipient and the viewer into reckoning with how an artist’s story is told, and who is permitted to do the telling.

With the Centre Pompidou’s year-long exhibition of the work and further circulation of the film, Magid’s work continues to invite the public to consider the important questions this indepth exploration raises about property, ownership, and access.

As a Mexican gallery, the attention paid to the important dialogue generated by Magid’s indepth consideration of Barragán’s legacy is especially meaningful. It raises important questions while honoring a major figure in the Mexican – and now more than ever Universal– architectural heritage.