Gabriel Rossell Santillàn

Raye, Maxa, Jari: constituido de lenguas muslos y manos.
Wixáritari Fresko. Gabriel Rossell Santillàn. Foto: Emma Haugh
Photo: Emma Haugh

At the intersection of art, collective knowledge production, and documentary, the work of Gabriel Rossell Santillán deals with the transformation and transmission of cultural knowledge. Working in close collaboration with members of the Wixáritari community in Nayarit, Mexico for twelve years—and in dialogue with their artifacts held in the collection of the Ethnological Museum in Berlin—Rossell Santillán has developed new forms of collective authorship, as well as political applications of artistic practice. On the occasion of Undisciplinary Learning, Gabriel Rossell Santillán proposes a new means of reading a key scene from the Aesthetics of Resistance. The book’s three protagonists reinterpret the frieze of the Pergamon Alter, which was built in 165 BC and transferred to the Berlin Museum in 1879, in the sense of class struggle and the liberation from slavery and oppression. Together with workshop participants, Rossell Santillán transposes the portrayed struggle between giants, creatures, and gods into the present as it pertains to colonial history and neocolonial hegemony, linking it to cosmology and the historic, as well as contemporary, struggles of the Wixáritari. The new frieze is a multi-media, polyphonic palimpsest that, as a living archive and fragile monument to freedom and community draws connections between between bodies and languages, times and geographies, theories and experiences.