The Power Plant

Carlos Amorales: Useless Wonder

Carlos Amorales

Past Exhibition

Dec 15 2006 – Feb 08 2007


Carlos Amorales, Still from Useless Wonder, 2006. Video Installation. Courtesy to the artist and Kadist


Laura Rapp & Jay Smith


Consulate General of Mexico Mexicana Airlines

Well-known for his choreographed performances with masked Mexican wrestlers, Carlos Amorales has recently concentrated on animations, paintings and installations. For his Canadian debut, Amorales presents the video animation and sound environment Useless Wonder (2006), a work that develops his investigation into the language and meaning of fantasy and horror. Amorales based the work on The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838) by Edgar Allan Poe, a fictionalized narrative, apparently penned by the youthful Pym, about an ill-fated Antarctic expedition. The novel dramatizes the beliefs of early American theorist John Cleves Symmes who believed that the earth was hollow and opened at the poles.

A double projection on a floating screen, Useless Wonder combines starkly graphic imagery of the animal, human and natural worlds with abstract forms. On one side of the screen, a map of the world breaks up into shards evoking tectonic plates, only to coalesce again. On the other side, scenes that feel both evolutionary and apocalyptic unfold: A flock of birds swarm onto a simian female figure – her behind splashed with red – crouching on all fours; Apes with skull heads, resembling Day of the Dead masks, hunch on webs made from geometric lines; Abstract ribbons swirl across silhouetted female forms, some of them pregnant. Amorales’s spectral soundtrack heightens the atmosphere of ambiguous threat. Evoking states of fecundity, parasitism and entropy at once, Useless Wonder suggests a world on the brink of massive change.

The digital vector drawings in Useless Wonder are gathered from Amorales’s image archive that encompasses material from personal, political and popular sources. Amorales founded an animation studio in Mexico City where he works with graphic designers, media researchers and musicians. In addition to working on animations, studio members gather for monthly seminars with guest speakers and at a weekly film club to discuss and analyze visual and literary language.

Carlos Amorales, Useless Wonder, 2006 Animation on two-channel video projection, 8 min. Courtesy the artist.

Carlos Amorales: Useless Wonder Photo: Rafael Golchain.

Photo: Rafael Golchain.

Carlos Amorales: Useless Wonder Photo: Rafael Golchain.

About the Artist

Carlos Amorales

Carlos Amorales was born in Mexico City in 1970 where he lives and works today.