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The Proposal by Jill Magid

Updated: Apr 11, 2019





Image source: http://www.jillmagid.com/film Accessed 19/03/2019 8.20pm


The Proposal is Magid’s first feature documentary and both documents and extends her body of work The Barragán Archives. The film is beautifully made, with a soft, contemplative aesthetic that reflects the artist’s romantic ideology. Upon learning that the life’s work of Mexico’s most famous Architect, Luis Barragán, was purchased by a Swiss man as an engagement present to his fiance Federico Zanco, only to be kept from public access for over twenty years, Magid courts a friendship with Zanco via a series of letter exchanges. culminating in a proposal. To enact the proposal Magid gains the permission of Barragán's family to turn a portion of his ashes into  a synthetic diamond. The diamond, a piece of Barragán himself, is offered in a ring to Zanco in exchange for the return of Barragan’s work to Mexico.


Magid’s film is, to me, an extraordinary example of conceptual art, extending into socially engaged art practice. It is hard to define exactly what the art is, as it is as much the art objects, artefacts and installations Magid exhibits, as it is this film and the relationships she cultivates in order to construct such an unusual narrative to question ideas of ownership, intellectual property and legacy. The work is beautiful, courageous and absurd and I included it to remind me of what art can be and how it can shape the world.