press release

María Teresa Hincapié
If This Were a Beginning of Infinity
October 20, 2022–February 26, 2023

“I’m not interested in dead art. I believe that life is art, and my body is my living art. It is my body that has to move, that is looking, that is tired, that is exhausted. This is what I propose.” —María Teresa Hincapié

With an extensive theatrical training, and unwavering rigor and discipline, María Teresa Hincapié (Armenia, Colombia, 1954–Bogotá, 2008) combined her experience in the theatre with concerns that were visionary for her time: questioning the hyperproductivity of late capitalism, our unbalanced relationship with the planet and the lack of meaning in a society dominated by consumerism. Hincapié’s career—cut short by an illness that ended her life—laid the foundations for a solid discourse about the performative as a field of artistic creation in Colombia, and for the inclusion of themes that continue to be urgent in the repertoire of aesthetic production.

We could talk of Hincapié’s practice as a performative approach to the poetics of the domestic, with performances in which she transformed routine actions into symbolic acts to create a methodology of her own. The domestic, in this sense, was not limited to the realm of private life; it extended to the relationship of care of the planet, seeing the universe as one’s home. She had her own particular definition of the performative, which she called “training”, and her practice resisted categorization; rather it oscillated between life, creation in motion and the search for the sacred. She devised her own language with which to exist in the world, understanding space and time through her body.

María Teresa Hincapié: If This Were A Beginning of Infinity is an initial attempt to organize the physical and intangible legacy of this artist, so vital to understanding present-day practices. Envisaged as the beginning of a continuum of imagination and doing, the exhibition takes shape through records of the practice of an artist who believed in the transmission of knowledge as a mechanism for living together. These records consist not only of items from the archive (photographic material, videos, original texts, postcards, letters, and clippings), but also future materials that are created in the exhibition as a result of commissions.

Using the potential of affection as a mechanism of connection with the late artist, the exhibition calls for collective interaction as a producer of knowledge. It therefore includes works by four guest artists: José Alejandro Restrepo (with whom Hincapié collaborated on several works), Coco Fusco, Mapa Teatro, who present a piece specially created for this show, and María José Arjona, who has created Together but silent, a performance in collaboration with other performers that will be happening in the gallieres and around the MACBA while the exhibition runs. These new works not only swell a vital debate on movement, they also highlight the importance of the cognitive legacy of a practice that set out to transform.

Seminars, performative presentations, conversations, screenings and activities for teachers and visitors are programmed as just the beginning of a path that we hope will lead us through the incisive work of Hincapié and, eventually, to the infinity of her ideas and actions.

Carried out in collaboration between the Museum of Modern Art of Medellín (MAMM) and the MACBA, Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona.