The Bogotá artist María José Arjona has been busy counting bottles for a performance that opened last month at the Museum of Modern Art in Bogotá (Mambo). As the first individual exhibition of the year for this cultural institution, Arjona’s ‘Hay que saberse infinito’ (Know your Infinite Self) has been stirring up audiences who wander through a translucent maze consisting of 4,000 clear bottles, so that when they touch, a sonorous experience is generated.
As an algorithm of sound – each bottle separated by 15 cm – Arjona’s installation is at times unsettling, forcing the gallery-going public out of a comfort zone, even shocking the passers-by with the raucous movement of glass. A black plexiglass sheet covers a stack of bottles creating a bizarre visual effect when water begins to refract covering the artist in vibrant colors as she moves horizontally across the floor. As part of her Line of Life performance, Arjona collides with the bottles, creating a human sound instrument. The exhibition that fills the three floors of Mambo also includes photographs, drawings, and the artist’s personal writings. Lasting three months, until May 26, visitors have the opportunity to explore in the same space, on different days, an entirely different sound and light experience.
Arjona is an artist who strives for a spiritual plane using the body as an instrument for the exploration of beauty. Her tubular glass exhibit is a reference to the physicality of human existence. Our need to be in constant communication with others. To relate with what is near and infinite.
After graduating from the Fine Arts Academy of Bogotá (ASAB) in Performance, Arjona’s unique way of creative expression caught the attention of the Museum of Modern Art (Moma) in New York, where she was invited to perform for the retrospective of Serbian artist Marina Abramovic titled The Artist is Present. In this 2010 show, Abramovic sat unmoving for more than 700 hours, and one of the most popular performance works in recent years for the Moma. More than 750,000 people stood in line for a chance to stare at Abramovic.
The performances by the Colombian artist during the last two decades has illuminated the Colombian art circuit, accustomed to large scale installations that are generally void of the body as centerpiece.
Having arrived at performance art after studying contemporary dance, Arjona engages with the public, who is, in its own right, a protagonist in Know your Infinite Self.
Calle 26 No.6-00 Admission: $10,000