Little known in Spain, Maria Teresa Hincapie (1956-2008) was the great pioneer of the performance in Colombia and one of the most impressive figures in action art for its radical presence when inhabiting the spaces. His work arrived diluted in our country in collectives at the beginning of this 21st century, when it had already been recognized in large international biennials and museums. Therefore, only preceded by the small solo show at Madrid’s Mira 1 gallery a few months ago, this first major retrospective, co-produced by MACBA together with the Medellín Museum, is quite an event. Successfully settled?
Added to the difficulty of dealing with any performative retrospective, multiplied by the absence of the protagonist, is the lack of quality records because of Hincapié’s unwavering position on the indissoluble relationship between art and life, forged in a work of resistance that opposed the vain spectacularization and gross materialism of our time.
The happy solution has gone through a intensive researchwhich has revitalized its archive donated to MoMA along with interviews with close collaborators, the presentation of some of its spirals with objects and isolated elements of nature, and the contribution of artists who remake their actions, such as Maria Jose Arjona y Theater map; or, they evoke it, as in the wonderful video of Coco Fusco about the island of the graves of the unclaimed dead (formerly due to AIDS, recently due to Covid), Hart Island, in front of the New York Bronx.
Hincapié spoke of activating masculine and feminine energies and defined feminist art with the slogan
A thematic and austere tour that manages to convey the authenticity of this artist. Self-taught, she came by chance to the anthropological theater of Barba and to the poor of Grotowskiwhich prompted him to travel around the East to learn non-Western theater and dance techniques, a background with which he would make his debut at the end of the eighties in an art system that he barely knew and with respect to which he tried to stay on the marginsoccupying residual or exterior spaces that it inhabited for days.
[Arte colombiano antes y después del boom]
It started from the affirmation of real existence through the “sacred” transcendence of daily life to lead to the ancestral habitation of ethnic groups in Mexico and Colombia.
It is said here, for a certain fashion, that she was not a feminist and that her position was androgynous. Like other artists of her generation, Hincapié spoke of activating masculine and feminine energies and defined feminist art with a slogan. But she dedicated a decade to presenting herself as a woman-being, with performances as decisive as Showcase y one thing is one thing. And just reviewing the curators with whom she worked and the group exhibitions of women in which she participated in half the world shows a strong sorority network.