About Renée Magaña
“Renée Magañas oeuvre resembles a virtual cemetery. But a cemetery that one visits with pleasure. Death and transience are indeed woven into all her art. But with Renée Magaña the theme is not only heavy, cold, gloomy. Her work is also colorful and cheerful, combining the child's casual curiosity with the adult's experience of loss, sensitive remembrance with subtle cheerfulness.” (Alice Henkes)
As a half-Mexican living in Bern for several decades, Renée Magañas artistic work repeatedly deals with the different ideas and significances of death in different cultures. She has studied Niklaus Manuel's Berner Totentanz as well as the caricatures of the Mexican José Guadalupe Posada (1854 - 1913). In contrast to the European dance of death, Posada's figures such as La Catrina serve no moral educational purpose. In Mexico, death is not a taboo, but often the subject of an ironic debate that is reflected in the light-hearted representation and form of skeletons, among other things. Death has a high value in Mexican traditions of the cult of saints, as it is practiced in many Catholic countries.
Her artistic practice does not distinguish between her daily life and her artistic interests. She is inspired by her memories, triggered by different incidents: a smell, a photograph, an environment, a sound, the light, a film. Magaña has been collecting, researching and preserving – as an artist and as a private person – for several decades. She collects the overlooked, the left behind, the lost or forgotten. It is a fascination for discovery in the old and the used and what stories they might have to tell.
The Death Agency is Magañas attempt to bring all her accumulated works, collections, projects and research into one concise space. Look around, immerse yourself, leave, come back.