Through his elaborately-installed video works, Javier Téllez questions how we define what is “normal” versus what is “pathological.” He spent much of his time at the Gardner Museum in 2015 looking at Islamic art, a lesser-known area of Isabella's collection. Former Junior Associate Archivist and Registrar Ann Walt Stallings helped him study the exquisitely bound Manuscript of the Divan of Hafiz (about 1490) a selection of works by the 14th-century lyric poet Hafiz, one of the great masters of Persian literature. With Contemporary Programs and Residency Manager Tiffany York and curator Dominic Hall, the artist visited the nearby Warren Anatomical Museum (now part of Harvard Medical School's Countway Library of Medicine), a collection created in the mid-nineteenth for the purpose of training doctors.
Using film, video, and installation, Javier Téllez questions definitions of normality and pathology. Téllez has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Koenig & Clinton, New York; San Francisco Art Institute; REDCAT Gallery, Los Angeles; Kunsthaus Zurich; S.M.A.K., Ghent; Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland; Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; and Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City. He has participated in group exhibitions at SITE Santa Fe; MoMA PS1, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; as well as Documenta in Kassel, Germany and the 2001 and 2003 Venice Biennales. He has returned to the Gardner several times since his residency. Javier Téllez lives and works in New York.