Maria José Arjona
11 June – 30 July 2016
In/Tangible: Maria José Arjona, Antonio Paucar, Naufus Ramírez Figueroa is an exhibition about resistance, imagination and alternative realities. These artists dissolve the surface of hyperreality and the common grounds of the daily that blind our imagination and the symbolic possibilities of life. The explorations that Arjona, Paucar and Ramírez-Figueroa propose share the desire of bringing the human and the natural closer, particularly the animal realm, as well as suggesting spiritual dimensions that are generally inaccessible. These artists each one in their individual ways tap into the invisible, both by placing their body in the center of their works, a resistant body which is multiple, unstable, and in transformation, while they explore what we cannot see, while affirming the present.
Maria José Arjona began to develop Avistamiento (Sighting) a project in many stages, in 2009 in New York when she started to follow birds in Central Park. For Arjona, ‘Avistamiento is a project of human sensitization where birds lead us to surprise one another. Birds and the body are the same thing, they are entities that fluctuate and coexist in the world, making life possible.’ Avistamiento is a project about recognizing the other. A profound exploration of birds both in their habitat and in relation to humans, lead to powerful metaphors of migration, coexistence, and existence; to arrive to a fusion of bird and human in one body in the performance Second Messenger, 2016. In this performance the artist wears feathers and a leather helmet which replicates the ones used in falconry, thus promoting the perspectives from both human and bird alike. Here the artist smokes tobacco, a plant that is sacred for many indigenous people in Latin America. The tobacco produces an ephemeral drawing, a revealing phenomena which may be seen and understood as light, as an alternative form of knowledge. Arjona’s new work, and particularly her performance Breather, constitutes a transition from Avistamiento. In Breather and her new drawings, the body having already incorporated the bird, no longer exhibits feathers, beak, and tail. Instead it proposes a body that dissolves in the smoke of tobacco, as a way of giving access through the invisible, to different forms of cognition and other realities.