Regina José Galindo

Necromonas

Regina Jose Galindo  Necromonas

source: reginajosegalindo

Regina José Galindo
Guatemala, 1974

Vive y trabaja en Guatemala.
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source: mde11org

Nació en 1974 en Ciudad de Guatemala (Guatemala), donde actualmente vive y trabaja. Su carrera como artista comenzó a finales de los años 90, pocos años después de la firma de la paz en su país. En el 2005 obtuvo el León de Oro de la 51 Bienal de Venecia en la categoría Artista joven. Su trabajo ha sido exhibido en muestras colectivas en diversos espacios alrededor del mundo. Regina también escribe poesía y cuento, y ya varios de sus textos forman parte de antologías y revistas. ‘Personal e intransmisible’ se titula el libro de poesía que publicó en 1999.
Ha participado en eventos de talla internacional como: Bienal de Venecia (versiones 49, 51, 53 y 54); The Sharjah Biennial; Bienal de Pontevedra (2010); 17 Bienal de Sydney; II Bienal de Moscú; Primera Trienal de Auckland; Venice-Istanbul; I Bienal de Arte y Arquitectura Islas Canarias; III Bienal de Albania; II Bienal de Praga; III Bienal de Lima. Su trabajo forma parte de colecciones como Pricenton Universtity (Nueva Jersey); Meiac ( España); Fondazione Teseco (Pisa, Italia); Fondazione Galleria Civica (Trento, Italia); MMKA, Budapest, Hungría; Consejería de Murcia (España); Art Foundation Mallorca (España); Museo de Rivoli (Turín, Italia); Fundación Daros (Suiza); Blanton Museum (EE.UU); Colección La Gaia; UBS Art Collection; Miami Art Museum y Cisneros Fountanal.
Durante el MDE11 estará presentando el video ‘Punto ciego’, performance realizado en Guatemala en el año 2010, el cual explora la relación entre obra y público. Su trabajo se basa en una investigación sobre el comportamiento de un grupo de individuos ciegos frente a una pieza de arte contemporáneo, pero también en un performance: una escultura, un cuerpo que no ven, que no comprenden, y que deben reconocer a través de sus otros sentidos. Es un ensayo sobre cómo se percibe la realidad, “nuestra propia realidad”, sobre cómo nos desenvolvemos a ciegas, obviando al otro, negándonos a ver.
A Regina José Galindo le interesa crear experiencias, pues considera que es donde más se puede crecer y aprender. Por eso crea experiencias que generen preguntas y puedan ir más allá. Asimismo, dice, le “interesa crear obras donde se modifiquen o desplacen las relaciones lineales entre el público y la obra de arte. Romper los esquemas es necesario en todo proceso de transmisión de información, para que el conocimiento no se estanque”.
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source: frieze

For all of its temerity, Who Can Erase the Footprints? did not push the artist’s body to the physical extremes to which her subsequent practice has submitted it – a submission that makes of physical pain a kind of raw material, or more ineffably, a method. Featuring the unruffled Galindo carving the word ‘dog’ into her own arm, Perra (Bitch, 2005) conjures up the violence wrought upon women’s bodies, whether expressly political or domestic. For 150,000 Volts (2007), Galindo submitted to an actual tasing, which rendered her temporarily immobile and unconscious. In a similar vein, the photographs of Confesión (Confession, 2007) find Galindo undergoing waterboarding at the hands of mock inquisitor, whose status as a volunteer in no way diminished the severity of his interrogation. The most obvious points of reference with regard to such performances are Gina Pane and Marina Abramovic – not simply for the use of the artist’s body, but the punishing rituals to which it is subjected. Galindo’s work, however, takes on a more pointedly political edge; its feminist dimensions are inextricable, in turn, from a specific historical and cultural matrix, inflected by questions of class and ethnicity.

In this vein, the short video Hermana (Sister, 2010), features Galindo – of ‘ladina’ (hispanized) descent – standing opposite an indigenous woman, who intermittently slaps her face and spits on her. The work evokes a politics of race endemic to Guatemalan (and more broadly, Central American) culture. Still, Galindo’s practice is not circumscribed solely to a Central American ambit. America’s Family Prison (2008) comprises a video, a photograph, eight architectural drawings, and a large key (presumably to the cell in question), the piece entailed Galindo’s voluntary confinement – with her husband and two children – to a tiny prison room for 24 hours. Galindo rented a model cell used in trade exhibits, and visitors could peer into the locked unit, placed in the middle of a large gallery. The piece calls attention to the United States’ multi-billion dollar private prison industry. It also conjures up the close intertwining of Guatemalan political economy with American policy. At the height of US complicity in Central America’s counter-Communist repression, Ronald Reagan declared Ríos Montt ‘a man of great personal integrity and commitment,’ and matched words with the channeling of arms and intelligence.

La Conquista (The Conquest, 2009) transcends national borders in a different sense, evoking the abjection of poverty, and the attempts of woman to escape it by means of their own bodies. Two wigs made of hair bought from poor women in Guatemala and India appeared in the gallery mounted on simple poles. The disembodied anonymity of these tresses underscored – through absence – the stories of the individuals that produced them. In another sense, the interweaving of strands bespoke a certain potential community. For Mientras ellos siguen libres(While they are still free, 2007) Galindo likewise used the body parts of others – in this case, actual umbilical cords – to have herself lashed to a bed, invoking the plight of women raped by the forces of state terror.

Not all of Galindo’s work proceeds along explicitly political lines. Performances like Punto Ciego (Blind spot, 2010) are more elliptical, even lyrical. Stripped bare, set up on a plinth, and isolated in a room filled with blind individuals, Galindo submits here to examining, inquisitive hands, which attempt to make sense of her presence, as well as its unexplained nakedness. To be sure, in the context of Galindo’s larger oeuvre, Punto Ciego’s poetics of blindness and revelation, solitude and community, evinces its own potentially ideological resonances, however allegorically.
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source: artpulsemagazine

Recently, I had the opportunity to coincide again with the renowned Guatemalan performance artist and poet Regina J. Galindo (1974) at the international performance event “Performar” (www.performar.blogspot.com) in the Dominican Republic, organized by the collective Arte-Estudio and the Centro Cultural de España. We had both lived for extended periods of time in the Dominican Republic in 2005-2006, when Regina J. Galindo had just received the young artist award at the Venice Biennial, and I was coordinating and teaching a performance studies program at FLACSO (Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales). I was thus a firsthand witness to how her presence in the Dominican Republic during this time was extraordinarily invigorating for the burgeoning Dominican performance art scene and how she made incisive contributions to it. Both professionally and personally Regina J. Galindo developed strong ties to the Dominican Republic and tellingly, not only one of her performance pieces is named Isla (Island) but so is also her now two-year old daughter, with her Dominican partner, performance artist David Pérez (”Karmadavis”).

After a three-year lapse, I was thus particularly excited about Regina J. Galindo’s return from Guatemala to the Dominican Republic for a performance event that asked its participants to reflect on the relation between performance and “el mar,” the ocean that inevitably demarcates and conditions experiences of Caribbean insularity. For her piece, entitled Tumba, Regina J. Galindo contracted several local Dominican men who, from a small boat and at a visible distance from the shore, dropped several large suitcases-large enough to fit a human body-into the ocean one after another. The scene eerily restaged how unwanted Caribbean bodies are easily disappeared into this bottomless grave without a trace. While Tumba strongly tapped into contemporary Caribbean reality and the effects of various forms of criminality and trafficking, whether related to illegal substances or humans, this scene also bespoke of a long Caribbean history of disappeared bodies reaching all the way back to the notorious slave-holding vessels whose paths were littered with dead and forever invisibly submerged bodies.

Tumba resonates with Regina J. Galindo’s substantial body of performance art work but also gestures towards new directions emerging in her artistic trajectory. While most of her previous performance works relied on her own body as the main expressive vessel, here the artist herself was not present. And, unlike many of her earlier pieces that spoke starkly to the violent conditions in her home country, Guatemala, Tumba responded to the particular cultural and socio-political Caribbean context where it took place. Indeed, several of her recent performance projects respond much more directly to the local context in which they unfold, including Warm Up (England, 2009), Let’s Rodeo (U.S., 2008), America’s Family Prison (U.S., 2008) and Rompiendo el hielo (Norway, 2008).

While Tumba is indicative of this more recent tendency in Galindo’s work, it also reflects precisely the complex ways in which bodily presences and absences are evoked in some of her most renowned past pieces. Her performance (279) Golpes, that formed part of the 2005 Venice Biennial, consisted of a closed cubicle in which the artist hit herself once for each of the women (279 total) killed so far in Guatemala that year. The sound of these “golpes” was amplified to the outside for the audience. As in Tumba, this piece speaks loudly of victimized bodies whose deaths are never officially accounted for; their absence is made tenable and “present” not through rendering these hyper-visible, as the media like to do, but rather through a precise evocation of their absence: the unseen bodies in the suitcases, the disappeared bodies of killed women. The artist’s own body functions here as a tool to voice the human costs of these larger social tragedies, and, at the service of these denunciations, her body certainly does often become hyper-visible and starkly present in many of her other works; this includes for example the video that accompanied her Venice Biennial performance, Himenoplastia, in which it is graphically shown how the artist undergoes an illegal surgery to reconstruct her hymen, i.e. her virginity, a performance that would help her win the prestigious “León de Oro” prize awarded to emerging young artists.

There is, of course, a venerable history of performance artists pushing their bodily limits, Chris Burden inevitably comes to mind, and various women performance artists such as Linda Montano, Marina Abramovic, and Orlan. The latter, a French performance artist, for example, staged colossal performance events around her undergoing plastic surgeries in the early 1990s that resulted in videos that were too bloody and gruesome for many viewers to watch. Yet, while Regina J. Galindo’s work is clearly informed by her predecessors in the performance art world, her work lacks their often autobiographical dimensions. Even though Regina J. Galindos’ pieces implicate her in the most personal ways, they are not about her. Sure, she speaks of violence and political oppression in Guatemala, of its gendered effects, both conditions that affect her too, but she does not make her own identity her site of enunciation, and one may call her performances “post-identitarian” in this sense.

Regina José Galindo. Rompiendo el Hielo, 2008. Still Video, 23′ 22″ Du store verden!/the DSV network. Courtesy of the artist and Prometeo Gallery di Ida Pisani.
But it is not only the relation between her own body and her performance pieces, but also the relation between these and the audience that I find differ from what one may perceive as her predecessors in the performance art world. Both renowned performance pieces by Yoko Ono, Cut Piece (1964), and Marina Abramovic, Rhythm O (1974), demanded audience interventions on the artists’ bodies. In the case of Yoko Ono, audience members were provided with a pair of scissors to cut off her clothes, and Abramovic placed herself with various objects in a gallery, including a gun, that were at the disposal of the audience. Both pieces brought out the worst in some audience members, who reacted with what many saw as a disturbing aggressiveness towards these women’s bodies. One of Regina J. Galindo’s recent performances offers an interesting contrast to these two works: in her piece Rompiendo el hielo (2008), she sat naked in a very cold room in Oslo, Norway, in front of her a pile of clothes waiting for the audience to dress her to protect her from the cold, which they indeed proceeded to do. While Galindo’s work is starkly critical and denunciatory, she does not eye or implicate the audience with suspicion. This piece is indeed a rare example of her directly engaging the audience and crossing in this way the boundary between art and “reality.”

Both how she employs her own body as a self-conscious tool (but not as a personal referent), and the way she presents her works to the audience are not at the service of pushing the boundaries between art and life/reality, as performance art has often claimed to do. These performance art pieces are unequivocally presented as works of art, works that have much to say about reality and its critical political, social and cultural dimensions, but that does not endeavor to erase their boundaries. The question “Is it art or is it life?” that some performances like to put forward to their audiences is a self-reflexive exercise about the very nature of art that Galindo is not interested in asking, nor do most Latin(o) American performance artists according to the curators of the Museo del Barrios’ seminal exhibit “Arte ? Vida” (2008), a retrospective of four decades of Latin(o) American performance art work. As the museum’s director of curatorial programs explains, “[t]he title of this project … troubles the commonplace idea that art is equivalent to life, and life is art. What is proposed through these many works is that while art affirms and celebrates life with a regenerative force, and sharpens and provokes our critical senses, artistic actions that address inequalities and conflict are not equivalent to real life endured under actual repression”. Galindo’s work does not indulge in such confusions and in this sense aligns with the works of her Latin American peers; however, what makes Galindo’s work stand out among other Latin American performance artists at a fairly young age, and for which rightfully she is considered one of the most important contemporary Latin American artists, is the consistency of her conceptual and aesthetic language.

Unlike some of the more “baroque” tendencies in Latin American performance art, which involve multiple objects or are elaborately staged events, she pares her performances down to their essential ingredients through a careful development and editing process that reflects her experience and skills in another creative form – poetry. Galindo is a well-published poet, and she in fact started out as a writer before turning more insistently to performance art. It would be reductive to apprehend her performance art work mainly through the lens of poetic practice, but what stands out in her work, and what has allowed her to push so-called “body art” to new levels, is how she employs her body consciously as a cipher. Rather than laying claim to personal bodily experience or insisting on the supposed unintelligibility of the body (as many more autobiographical performance art works do), she taps into the body as a starkly coded social, cultural and political signifier within a larger system of signs. Her performances draw from and maximize this signifying function of the body, and while in many cases her own slight female Guatemalan body might be the most effective expressive vehicle, in other cases, as in Tumba (but also in Ablución, 2007), she strategically employs other bodies as more apt signifiers to throw a wrench into troubling dominant social, cultural and political discourses to ask not if art is life, but why life remains unlivable for so many.
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source: hemisphericinstituteorg

Biografia
Regina José Galindo já participou de exposições como as: Bienal de Venecia (49 e 51); II Bienal de Moscou; I Trienal Auckland; Venice-Istanbul; I Bienal de Arte y Arquictetura Islas Canarias; IV Bienal de Valencia; III Bienal de Albania, Tirana; II Bienal de Praga; III Bienal de Lima, Peru; I Festival Arte Corporal, Venezuela e IX Festival de Performance ExTeresa, México D.F.