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Goose Flesh by Regina José Galindo

January 27 to May 1, 2012
ARTIUM, Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo, Spain

Blanca de la Torre

Produced by ARTIUM (Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain), TEA (Santa Cruz de Tenerife) and CAAM (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria)
Exhibition catalogue with texts by Blanca de la Torre, Maite Garbayo, Omar Pascual Castillo and Sayuri Guzmán, and poems by Regina José Galindo.

ARTIUM presents the exhibition Goose Flesh, by Regina José Galindo

First major exhibition in Spain of this Guatemalan artist, whose performances are a metaphor of suffering and social injustice.

ARTIUM, Basque Centre-Museum of Contemporary Art, presents the exhibition Goose Flesh, by Regina José Galindo. (North Gallery, from January 27 to May 1, 2012). The exhibition consists of photographs, videos and objects associated with the 30 performances made since the beginning, in 1999, of the artistic career of this Guatemalan artist who received the prestigious Golden Lion at the Venice Biennial in 2005. In these actions, full of extraordinary symbolism, Galindo disturbs and moves the observer by subjecting her body to extreme situations as a reflection of a social reality dominated by abuse and injustice. On the occasion of the inauguration of the exhibition at ARTIUM, the artist will carry out the world premiere of a performance with the same title: Goose Flesh. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with texts by Blanca de la Torre, Maite Garbayo, Omar Pascual Castillo and Sayuri Guzmán, and poems by Regina José Galindo, some of which have never been published before. Curated by Blanca de la Torre, the exhibition is produced by ARTIUM (Vitoria-Gasteiz), TEA (Santa Cruz de Tenerife) and CAAM (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria).

Regina José Galindo (Guatemala, 1974) presents, in her first major exhibition in Spain, videos and photographs of the performances she has carried out since 1999, together with objects, some of which are sculptural in nature, as traces of actions and fetishes of constant pain. On the walls one can read a number of her poems. However, Regina Galindo does not intend to lecture the spectator with her work. The scenes she portrays of the situation in her native Guatemala are extreme but, nevertheless, they are full of poetry and metaphors of worldwide suffering and social injustice. The emotion she awakens in the observer, that “upheaval of the intense, fleeting mood—be it agreeable or distressing—accompanied by a certain somatic shock”, those “goose bumps”, only increase their allegorical content.

The exhibition is organised in five differentiated spaces. In the first of these, enunciation is the vehicle used to express the concepts and the word is the main player in the work. It begins with the video of her first performance, Lo voy a gritar al viento (1999), in which she reads her poems hanging from a public building. It concludes with the performance entitled Perra (2005), in which she writes this word on one of her thighs to denounce the attacks on women in Guatemala, where tortured bodies with inscriptions made with knives have appeared. Videos of the performances El cielo llora tanto que debería ser mujer (1999), El dolor en un pañuelo (1999) and No perdemos nada con nacer (2000) are shown in this area.

In the second space, Regina Galindo shows herself to the spectator as a body split in two, placed in the skin of the other, of the one who suffers or is subjected to injustice. Here, records of performances such as Mientras, ellos siguen libres (2007) are shown. In this performance, the artist, eight months pregnant, lies tied to a bed in the way told in the accounts of pregnant indigenous women who were raped during the armed conflict in Guatemala in the 70s and 80s, when there was an authentic genocide of the indigenous population. In Recorte por la línea (2005), a highly-regarded plastic surgeon marks the areas on the artist’s body where he is to operate in order to provide her with a perfect body according to the aesthetic canons of Western society. Lucha (2002) and Angelina (2001) are the performances shown in this area of the exhibition.

The third area of Goose Flesh is given over to melancholy and pain. In it, one can see perhaps the crudest of the works of Regina Galindo, those in which explicit scenes of torture are depicted in reference to the suffering and death of others. In Confesión (2007), the artist subjects herself to the torture known as the “submarine”, a practice in which the head of the victim is submerged in a liquid to provoke the sensation of drowning. In 150.000 voltios (2007), Galindo receives an electric shock from a device used by the police in Guatemala to detain suspects. Cepo (2007), Peso (2006) and Limpieza social (2006) can also be found in this area.

In the exhibition Goose Flesh, there is a central space in which Regina José Galindo creates a fiction about the Venice Biennial, for which her works have been selected on four occasions and where, in 2005, she won the prestigious Golden Lion. Placed in the centre of the space, a reproduction of the award articulates the placing of powerful works such as ¿Quién puede borrar las huellas? (2003), a performance in which Regina Galindo walks the distance between the Parliament Building and the National Palace of Guatemala barefoot and leaving a trail of blood in the memory of the victims of the internal conflict and to denounce the presidential candidature of the genocide and coup leader Efraín Ríos Montt. Or Golpes (2005), in which, enclosed in a small cubicle, the artist hits herself for each one of the women murdered in Guatemala during the period January 1 to June 9, 2005. Himenoplastia (2004), Piel (2001) and Saqueo (2010) complete this section of the exhibition, a reflexion about the implications and contradictions of taking part in events such as the Venice Biennial and the effect on her career as an artist.

The exhibition concludes with a space featuring a number of performances in which others carry out the action, either as the one affected directly by the action or as one of several actors, or as an agent without which the action would not occur. This is the case of Caparazón (2010), a performance in which the artist shields herself in a fetal position under a transparent, sealed dome while a number of men strike the surface with weapons until these are broken. Or that of Hermana (2010), in which a indigenous Guatemalan woman assaults the artist repeatedly. Objeto (2010), Punto ciego (2010), Joroba (2010), XX (2007), La conquista (2009) and Marabunta (2012) can also be found in this space, in which Regina Galindo will also premiere the performance Goose Flesh on the day of the exhibition is inaugurated.

Goose Flesh. Performance by Regina José Galindo (world premiere), Friday, January 27, 8 PM
Conversation between Regina José Galindo and Blanca de la Torre, Saturday, January 20, 12:30 PM
Film season El factor subjetivo. From Saturday, January 28 to Sunday, February 5.

Practical Info
Calle de Francia, 24
01002 Vitoria-Gasteiz

Tuesday–Friday: 11am–2pm and 5–8pm
Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: from 11am–9pm, without interruption
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Weekend following the inauguration of an exhibition.
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