Theses Doctoral

Permutation and performance of the dead body: materiality, science and consumption of the corpse in Latin American art at the end of the century

Calles Izquierdo, Jennifer

In this dissertation, I study the corpse as a material in Latin American art at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st.

On the one hand, I show that this is a social analyzer of the terrible consequences of dictatorships, neoliberal policies, and criminal violence on the continent. On the other hand, applying the theory of new materialism and focusing on the presence of the dead body -human or non-human- in the work of artists such as Nicola Costantino, José Antonio Hernández Díez, Teresa Margolles, María Fernanda Cardoso, Arturo Duclos, or Nicolás Lamas, among others, I develop what I call corpse art.

As I argue, the impact of this art consists in challenging the limits of the body and its traditional binomials (surface-depth, organic-inorganic, living-dead) using the material capacities of skin, flesh, and bones. The material deployment of the corpse, as well as the re-appropriation of scientific and commercial techniques, put artistic media, their specificities, and their autonomies in crisis. But in addition, this corpse art allows also us to reflect on the manipulation of bodies and power ties that produce objects and merchandise of desire in the Latin American context.

Geographic Areas


This item is currently under embargo. It will be available starting 2025-06-30.

More About This Work

Academic Units
Latin American and Iberian Cultures
Thesis Advisors
Bosteels, Bruno
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 12, 2023