The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is pleased to present a solo exhibition of work by José Carlos Teixeira, on view in the Imprint Gallery January 13 through May 20. Born and raised in Portugal and currently based in Wisconsin, the artist is intimately familiar with the complexities of immigration—from confronting feelings of displacement to undertaking the challenges of learning a new culture. In his artwork, Teixeira moves beyond his personal experiences to create video installations that investigate larger notions of belonging and exile. José Carlos Teixeira: ON EXILE is a two-part exhibition featuring video essays the artist produced between 2016 and 2017.
As with his previous projects, Teixeira explores the concept of Otherness in the films that comprise ON EXILE. Derived from psychoanalytical, anthropological, and postcolonial theories, Othering refers to a process through which societies establish majority and minority identities, or social categories, as binary opposites. An individual or group is subsequently deemed “not one of us,” which in some cases results in the devaluation, dehumanization, or even persecution of people classified as Other. Teixeira, however, reverses the human tendency to demonize those who seem different or unfamiliar by giving voice to members of stigmatized communities: individuals with mental illness in his film ON EXILE: Fragments in search of meaning (2016), and Muslim refugees living the United States in ON EXILE: Elsewhere within here (2017).
Resisting conventional categorization, Teixeira’s work teeters between documentary cinema and video art. His approach to art is based on a relational mode of interaction that relies on group participation, extensive interviews, and collaborative performance. For the works included in ON EXILE, the artist’s interview process operates as both an exchange of life and an art form; focusing on the voices and first-hand stories of his subjects, Teixeira opens up a psychological space for intimate narratives to unfold, and a cinematic space for shared creation and authorship.