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(Mexico City, 1990-1999) was an artist collective that emerged from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) whose name referenced Servicio Médico Forense, Mexico City’s morgue where founding member Teresa Margolles worked. True to their name, SEMEFO explored the politics of death and violence in contemporary Mexico through work which dealt both formally and conceptually with the morgue, may that be through the literal presentation of morgue materials or ritualistic musings on death. SEMEFO challenged moral boundaries in work that graphically mixed death, decay, and ritual, and assaulted both senses and sensibilities, making physical the overwhelming sense of societal unrest of the time. Their work consumed audiences, from abrasive death metal performances to the looming scent of formaldehyde, forcing viewers to confront the abject, and often perverse, function of death in the apparatus of state power. The affect of revolt in SEMEFO’s work can point in one of two ways: out the door to escape the scene of rotting flesh, or, ideally, further in to mobilize against the political forces which have brought us to this point. Recent group exhibitions include Punk, sus rastros en el arte contemporáneo, Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico City (2016); and Strange Currencies: Art & Action in Mexico City, 1990-2000, The Galleries at Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia (2015). SEMEFO members include Teresa Margolles, Juan García Zavaleta, Carlos López, Arturo Angulo, and Juan Pernás.

Tags: collective, activism, collaboration, Museo Universitario del Chopo, performance