The Proposal
By Jill Magid
Jill Magid, The Proposal, film still

avant-première and aftertalk
Wednesday, 2 September 2020
18:00 to 21:00

film session times
03/09/20 – 10/10/20
exact times soon online 

opening hours
Thursday – Saturday
12:00 to 18:00
(please consult our website for exact film session times, door close 10 minutes after the start of the film)

Extended opening hours during Brussels Gallery Weekend 
Thursday 3 to Saturday 5 September (closed on Sunday)
11:00 to 19:00

In collaboration with  M Leuven and Brussels Gallery Weekend 

about the film screenings

What happens to intellectual property if it is privatised? This is the question Jill Magid asks when she wants to make an artwork that deals with the work of Luis Barragán, the most significant Mexican architect of the 20th century. It turns out that Barragán’s huge archive was sold in 1995, seven years after his death, to the owner of Swiss design company Vitra, who gave it as a wedding present to his fiancée, Federica Zanco. Since then it has not left the basement of Vitra’s headquarters, where it is jealously guarded by its new owner.

Instead of indignantly going on the attack, Magid courts Zanco with flattering letters demonstrating their shared passion for Barragán. An unusual love triangle emerges as the partners gradually become closer. Magid’s final goal is to make the archives public again, preferably in Mexico. To get Zanco’s permission, she makes her a proposal that is as macabre as it is romantic. 

The film screenings will be supplemented with a public programme on issues related to the care and handling of architects’ archives.

about the artist

American artist Jill Magid’s work is deeply ingrained in her lived experience, exploring and blurring the boundaries between art and life. Through her performance-based practice, Magid has initiated intimate relations with a number of organizations and structures of authority. She explores the emotional, philosophical and legal tensions between the individual and ‘protective’ institutions, such as intelligence agencies or the police. To work alongside or within large organizations, Magid makes use of institutional quirks, systemic loopholes that allow her to make contact with people ‘on the inside’. Her work tends to be characterized by the dynamics of seduction, the resulting narratives often taking the form of a love story. It is typical of Magid’s practice that she follows the rules of engagement with an institution to the letter – sometimes to the point of absurdity.

With solo exhibitions at institutions around the world including Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), Mexico City; Tate Modern, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Berkeley Museum of Art, California; Tate Liverpool; the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam; Yvon Lambert, Paris and New York; Gagosian Gallery, New York; and the Security and Intelligence Agency of the Netherlands, Magid has received awards from the Fonds Voor Beeldende Kunsten, the Netherland-American Foundation Fellowship Fulbright Grant, and the 2017 Calder Prize. Magid has participated in the Liverpool, Lyon, Bucharest, Singapore, Incheon, Gothenburg, and Performa Biennials, and Manifesta, among others. She is an Associate of the Art, Design and the Public Domain program at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, and a 2013-15 fellow at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics. An adjunct teacher at Cooper Union, Magid is the author of four novellas. Her first feature film, The Proposal, premiered at Tribeca Film Festival 2018 and received an Honorable Mention for Best Emerging Filmmaker at Hot Docs in Toronto. Her work is included the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Fundacion Jumex, and the Walker Art Center, among others.