On prudence and good sense

Feminismos e outras historia

From: Dolores “Phrónesis. Tania Bruguera: Sobre la prudencia y la sensatez”, Blog Feminismos e outras historias. march, 2010.

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On prudence and good sense

A selection of recent works by Tania Bruguera (1968, Havana), the most international, forceful and acknowledged by the media Cuban artist today, is being exhibited at the Juana de Aizpuru Gallery. Besides Plusvalia (Surplus value – 2009) – the iron sign stolen from a concentration camp which reads “Arbeit macht frei” (work will make you free) – which was already exhibited in ARCOmadrid, one of the halls shows Phronesis (2010), a project consisting of a series of actions in museums and cultural institutions programmed for the entire month of March without the consent of their authorities. Tania Bruguera’s medium is performance; the contents of her interventions normally reach renown and are not forgotten because of their marked political stance and the innermost movement they cause. Phronesis, as its very title suggests, is far from the contentions her participation in the National University of Colombia or the Venetian Biennial Exhibition unleashed and is free from any formal salutary shock.

What is new in the piece shown at the Juana de Aizpuru Gallery is that the performance is entirely unnoticed while it is being carried out. People in the place where the action takes place are not ready to experience it as a work of art. At that moment, they are just citizens walking through prestigious art places regarded as sacred, while the actual audience of the piece is in another moment and another place.

The documentary pictures are sent to the gallery once the action ends. It is in this space where, as spectators, we are able to verify that the work is cautiously playing with capital issues in Bruguera’s oeuvre: turning the concept of authorship into a problem, examining the invaluable relations of power and submission and questioning the very notion of art. The work has been covering the walls of the gallery as the month goes by: towards the beginning of March, a photograph immortalized the mark of her tongue on a wall of the MNCACRS, weeks later she tried to steal the FRAC director’s cell phone and, in this way, she continues illustrating her agenda until March 29, when the exhibition closes together with the actions.

I present this video because it makes the positioning of the artist very clear, although it deals with another of her works.