Javier Téllez (Plastic Artist, Venezuela – USA)
Javier Téllez was born in Valencia, Venezuela, in 1969. He studied at Arturo Michelena School of Fine Arts, Venezuela. The son of psychiatrists, Téllez developed a close affinity with institutionalized patients with mental illnesses. This is reflected in his art, which, through installation, film, and video, addresses the general public’s understanding of such marginalized populations. His work questions the meaning of sanity by characterizing it as an axis rather than a fixed state. Téllez’s 16 mm film Letter on the Blind for the Use of Those Who See (2007) was inspired by the ancient Indian parable of the blind men and the elephant, in which each man touches a different part of the animal, and as a result the group disagrees about its overall nature. Téllez collaborated with patients from a Berlin psychiatric hospital to make the twenty-seven-minute film Caligari and the Sleepwalker (2008), which examines the subjective nature of perception and underscores the ways in which we interpret reality through the experiences of others. Artist and patients watched the canonical German Expressionist film Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, 1920) and worked together on a new version. Setting his film in the Einsteinturm, a German Expressionist observatory building in Potsdam’s Wissenschaftspark Albert Einstein (Albert Einstein Science Park), Téllez conjures an anachronistic atmosphere.