María José Arjona: Silla (Chair), 2011 / Rolf Art / Art Basel Miami Beach Meridians

María José Arjona’s performance/sculpture “Silla” (Chair) was one of the most popular artworks in the Meridians sector of Art Basel Miami Beach 2022.

María José Arjona: Silla (2011) / Rolf Art / Art Basel Miami Beach Meridians. Miami Beach (Florida, USA), November 29, 2022.

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Exhibition text: María José Arjona’s Chair straddles the line between sculpture and performance. The work revolves around the concepts of objecthood, the ephemeral aspects of experience, memory, and archiving, while disclosing the body’s critical role when addressing movement, in a given space, as a form of political choreography. While the chair remains suspended horizontally in the space – it is also activated by Arjona in a durational performance, which can last as long as six hours. Chair was first exhibited in New York at the Ballroom Marfa (2011) and at NC-arte in Bogota, Colombia (2015). It was later reenacted by other performers as part of Arjona’s retrospective at MAMBO in Bogota, Colombia (2018). Each iteration expressed the artist’s engagement with the effect of time on the body as a form of sculptural process, simultaneously endorsing the history of performance as an expression that changes the perception of art itself.

María José Arjona (b. 1973, Bogota, Colombia) initially received dance training before devoting herself to performance. She graduated from the Academia Superior de Artes, Bogotá. Her work rethinks the roles of the subject’s movement within space and time, negotiating a perspective in which research and writing become the experimental tools of reflection. In recent years, Arjona has developed a series of workshops, talks, and seminars around the social and political potential of the performing arts. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including the Third Triennial of Guangzhou, China, (2008); ‘In Transit,’ Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Germany (2009); the Quadrilateral Biennial, Croatia (2011); Museo Madre, Naples, Italy (2010); ‘Irregular Hexagon,’ Israel (2012); the Morocco Biennial (2912); DO IT, United Kingdom (2013); the 43rd National Salon of Artists, Colombia (2014); NC-arte, Colombia (2014); CaixaForum, Spain (2015); FLORA ars+natura, Colombia (2015); Kunsthalle Osnabrück, Germany (2016); ‘To Be Known as Infinite’ – Retrospective, Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, Colombia (2018); and ‘Colombian Art of the 21st Century,’ Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín, Colombia (2019), among others. She also participated as a ‘re-performer’ for the Marina Abramović retrospective at MoMA, New York, (2010), and in the artist’s residence program of the Watermill Center, New York (2009). Her work is part of public and private collections in Colombia, the United States, Europe and Asia. María José Arjona lives and works in Bogotá, Colombia.

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