• text
  • pictures

Jose Dávila

Guadalajara, Mexico. 1974

Jose Dávila’s work questions the modernist tradition that has given shape to art practices of the XX century. By appropriation and a subsequent reconfiguration the artists uses other artworks as raw material, emphasizing the way in which they have been registered and placed in circulation as images. Resorting to duplication and alteration, Dávila fractures the dynamics of recognition that normally permit the configuration of icons and ways of seeing. Another route for approaching this issue is the transformation of the pictorial into sculptural elements, imposing spatial consequences to images that used to be two-dimensional.

Dávila’s sculptural work takes as point of departure the specificity of the materials he employs, their origin and value are elements that take great significance; industrial materials such as glass, steel or concrete, interact with natural raw materials like marble and rocks. The artist also uses common objects for creating replicas of easily recognizable sculptures created by other artists, intending to show how certain forms of occupying space are also inscribed within the system of visual referentiality that frames western art history.

Influenced by his education in architecture, Dávila arranges objects as if they were basic elements of drawing (point, line and plane) for creating systems that exemplify notions of equilibrium, stability and permanence.
His work has been exhibited in numerous institutions and museums such as: Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico; Caixa Forum, Madrid, Spain; MoMA PS1, New York, USA; Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany; San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, USA; Museo de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; MAK, Vienna, Austria; Fundación JUMEX, Mexico City, Mexico; Bass Museum of Art, Miami, USA; Museu de Arte Moderna, Sao Paolo, Brazil; The Moore Space, Miami, USA; NICC, Antwerp, Belgium; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Marfa Contemporary, Texas, USA; Voorlinden Museum, Wassenaar, Netherlands, among others. His work has been included in the following publications: Cream 3 (Phaidon), 100 Latin-American Artists (Exit) and Megastructures-Reloaded (Hatje Cantz).

Dávila has received the following grants and residencies: Andy Warhol Foundation, Kunst-Werke Residency and the Beca Nacional para Jóvenes Artistas, FONCA. Dávila was co-founder and co-director of the independent space OPA (Oficina para Proyectos de Arte) in Guadalajara, Mexico; the artist currently lives and works in this city.

2016. San Andres stone volumes, rock, and metal beams. 130.5x305x87 cm.
Joint Effort
2016. San Andrés stone volumes, boulder, and ratchet strap. 199x40x40 cm.
Imbalance of Perfection
2010. Aluminium. 240x240x240 cm
Brute Force
2012. Stone and plastic sacks. 78x36x41 cm.
Joint Effort
2016. San Andrés stone volumes, boulder and ratchet straps. 141x40x45 cm
Homage to the Square
2013. Aluminum frames, paint, metal wire. 180x180x5 cm.
Topologies of Light I
2012. Detail. Archival pigment print.
Topologies of Light I
2012. Archival pigment print. 141 x 384 cm.
Topologies of Belief (Details)
2011. Archival pigment print
The Space beneath Us
2012. Mexican Tlaquepaque traditional handmade ceramic. 800x800x120 cm.
Architecture Topologies I
2012. 50x72 cm/each one. 105x226 cm.
Homage to the square
2014. Hand cut and painted high temperature ceramic. 50x50x8 cm.


Jose Dávila has been awarded a grant for an exhibition at LAND as part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative in September, 2017 till 27 of May 2018.

LAND commissioned Guadalajara-based artist Jose Dávila to create Sense of Place, a multi-site, large-scale, public sculpture exhibition migrating through, and integrating into, the diverse urban landscape of Los Angeles to draw a portrait of the city’s many experiences, geographies and histories. Sense of Place was derived from Davila’s Joint Effort sculpture series which expands the concepts of balance and equilibrium using basic construction materials such as concrete blocks and stones.

The six ton concrete sculpture will be on view to the public in the park from sunrise to sunset through November 2017 when it will begin to disassemble into 40 individual sculpture pieces and then migrate throughout the city to be reinstalled in approximately 20 different public sites. Public programming will be announced throughout the exhibition to celebrate the sculpture’s migration.


“The language of stones or how the licentiate looks like his statue!”
Talk between Eugenio Arriaga, Jose Dávila, Cynthia Gutiérrez y Juan Newton.
Reflexions about the city history,  public sculpture, and the cult to the heroes as transforming elements of the city. A dialogue around the exhibition ” Anti-monuments monuments and new public sculptures”.


Jose Dávila, Eric N. Mack, Toni Schmale and Shen Xin are the four recipients of the Baltic Artists’ Award. This major new international award is the first worldwide art award to be judged solely by artists. Four of the most celebrated international contemporary artists – Monica Bonvicini, Mike Nelson, Pedro Cabrita Reis, and Lorna Simpson – have each selected an emerging artist whose work they strongly believe in. The four winning artists work across a diverse range of media.