Regina José Galindo: 12 years @ ROLLO Contemporary Art (until 11 February)

Joroba (Hunchback) - Regina José Galindo Jaroba

ROLLO Contemporary art’s winter exhibition, Regina José Galindo: 12 Years, brings together performance-video works from Galindo’s acclaimed 12 year career in the artist’s first solo exhibition in London, including two new works never before exhibited, which Galindo has created especially for ROLLO Contemporary Art’s exhibition; Hermana and Joroba.

EXHIBITION: ROLLO Contemporary Art, 51 Cleveland Street, London W1T 4JH

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Born in Guatemala City in 1974, Regina José Galindo began making performances in the public arena in 1999. In 2005, Galindo’s work received international acclaim when she was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale. Today Galindo is widely considered to be one of the most unique and powerful voices of contemporary performance art.
ROLLO Contemporary Art’s exhibition Regina José Galindo: 12 Years presents works from 1999 to the present date, including two new commissions and surveys the dominant themes of Galindo’s ground-breaking performative practice, where the artist typically uses her own body as a raw material that is subjected to violent and dangerous acts.
Influenced by the violence of her native Guatemala, Galindo’s performance-video works visually articulate the violent and repressive history and current culture of Guatemala and explore its existing social hierarchies, whilst elsewhere Galindo’s work addresses international power relations; commenting on the relationship between the US and Central America and addressing global acts of political injustice. Overall however Galindo’s work can be seen to articulate universal issues of vulnerability, loss of liberty, and imbalances of power, whether it be social, sexual, political or economic.
At time violent and direct, at other times poetic and metaphoric, Galindo’s work is disruptive, insistent and impossible to ignore.
Created especially for ROLLO Contemporary Art’s exhibition is a video triptych,
Hermana, which addresses the social hierarchy that exists between the native indigenous population of Guatemala and the Ladino community (a socio-ethnic category of Mestizo or hispanicized people in Central America especially in Guatemala). The artist has said of the work ‘Hermana modifies the roles that have historically existed in Guatemala. It shows the problems of exploitation and humiliation by the Ladino of the Indian community, which has been the source of the failure of the Guatemalan state and nation. In this piece my Ladino body is presented in front of the body of an Indian woman. Both bodies share similar physical characteristics but these are denied through various codes. In Hermana the Ladino woman’s body represents the vulnerability, which is hit, spat on and whipped with an orange stick. In Hermana, it is the Indian woman who has power. This is something that doesn’t exist in our reality.’

In Joroba (Hunchback) – also created especially for ROLLO Contemporary Art’s survey show – a man walks through a village in Guatemala carrying a coffin on his back. The work suggests a poetic visual metaphor for the threat of death and vulnerability carried by the Guatemalan citizen. Embodying a sense of impending and inevitable doom, the image is also evocative of a modern day Christ carrying his own crucifix.
Exhibited works will include No perdemos nada con nacer (We don’t lose anything by being born) 2000, in which the artist was self drugged, put in a clear plastic bag, placed in a bin and deposited at the local rubbish dump, and Perra, 2005, where in an act of protest against the endemic violence towards women in Guatemala, the artist inscribes the word ‘Perra’ meaning ‘Bitch’ or ‘Whore’ into her right leg using a knife, mirroring the reality that in Guatemala the bodies of tortured women are frequently found with such inscriptions having been carved into them with a knife or razor. Galindo has said: “My body is not like an individual body, but asocial body, a collective body, a global body”i, this sentiment is powerfully demonstrated in the collection of works presented in ROLLO Contemporary Art’s survey show.
Galindo’s works have been included in public exhibitions at prestigious institutions such as P.S.1 New York, Museum of Latin American Art, California, were included in ‘Global Feminisms’ at Brooklyn Museum and ‘The Body in Women’s Art Now’ at ROLLO Contemporary Art, London and New Hall Art Collection, Cambridge. Galindo has participated in the Venice Biennale (2001, 2005, and 2009), the Prague Biennale (2005), and the Tirana Biennale, Albania (2005). Public solo exhibitions of Galindo’s work have been held at La Plateau, Paris and most recently in the United Kingdom, at Modern Art Oxford in 2009.
Galindo’s works are included in the public collections of Princeton University Art Museum, (Princeton, USA), Castello di Rivoli – Museo d’Arte Contemporanea (Turin, Italy), Daros Foundation (Zurich, Switzerland) and Meiac – Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo (Badajoz, Spain).

Lo voy a gritar al viento (I'm going to shout to the wind) - Regina José Galindo 1999

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