Title: Self-sabotage

Year: 2009

Medium: Lecture-Performance

Materials: Public lecture, table, chairs, brick wall with rusty metal beams, platform (9 inches), mike, sound system, 38 /9 mm firearm, 9 mm bullets

NOTE: This piece is only shown as an installation, with no living component


Self-sabotage is a lecture-performance held at the Jeu de Paume in Paris as part of the series “Culture as a Strategy to Survive” on March 6, 2009 and again, that same year, at the Emergency Pavilion in the 53rd Venice Biennial. The piece is a lecture where artist Tania Bruguera sits at a table reading her reflections on political art and the function of artists in the context of art, institutions and society. To her right there is a box with a 38 caliber pistol and 9 mm bullets. During the first pause in her reading, the artist takes the gun, puts a bullet in it, makes the drum turn as in the Russian roulette, points at her temple and presses the trigger. She repeats this action twice, at each pause of her reading of the text. When the lecture is over, questions from the audience are answered.

The relationship between art and reality is an important concern in the development of Tania Bruguera’s work. The spine-chilling gesture illustrating the function of artists in society and the truthfulness of their actions as transformers of reality. It is also the experience of total sacrifice, the sacrifice of oneself, as the possibility of maintaining a commitment with the ethical values established by artists with their work and context. This is an exercise in Behavior Art through self-aggression as a sort of call for a political art taken to its utmost consequences.



Self-sabotageTania Bruguera: Talking to Power / Hablandole al Poder. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. San Francisco, United States. Curated by Lucia Sanroman and Susie Kantor. 

June 16 – October 29


Self-sabotageArt Crime. Legally on The Edge. A Forensic Exhibition. Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art (GIBCA). Göteborg, Sweden. Curated by Joanna Warsza. (Documentation) 

September 7 – November 17


Self-sabotage. The Fear Society, Pabellón de la Urgencia, 53rd Venezia Biennale. Venice, Italy. Curated by Jota Castro. 

June 5

Self-sabotage. Seminar Modèle à construire: La culture comme stratégie de survie, Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume. Paris, France. Organized by Maria Inés Rodríguez. 

March 6


Scroll down for INTEGRAL VERSION of the video and the First YOUTUBE upload

Scrolldown for TEXT and IMAGES

Click HERE to access at INTEGRAL VERSION of the video 

53rd Venezia Biennale

Venice, Italy

photos: César Delgado Wixen

Selected bibliography

(by alphabetical order)

Bernardita, Lira “Crítica – Performance, a partir de Tania Bruguera,” Revista Lecturas,  Madrid, Spain. April 17, 2010 (illust.)

Bishop, Claire and Bryan-Wilson, Julia “Intelligent Discomfort,” Mousse Magazine, Issue #35 – Talking about, October, 2012 (illust.)

Brainwashed poet “Imagen del día: Autosabotaje,” Accidentes Perfectos, Mexico D.F. May 18, 2010 (illust. & video)

Bruguera, Tania “Culture as a strategy to survive,” Delivered at La Culture comme strategie de survive. Jeu de Paume, March 2009, Paris, France, bc, Summer 2009, pp. 80-81.

_______________ Utopia of Exotic. Pavilion Magazine. Ed. PAVILION – journal of politics and culture. English/Rumanian, 80 pages. December 2010, (illust.) pp. 38 – 46.

_______________ “Culture as a strategy to survive,” Delivered at La sociedad del miedo, Pabellón de la Urgencia, curated by Jota Castro, Junio 5, 2009, 53 Bienal de Venecia, Venecia, Italia. 

Civale, CristinaTania Bruguera: A Loyal Daughter of the Revolution,” Clarin, Buenos Aires, Argentina, September 9, 2009 (illust.)

Curia, Dolores “Tania Bruguera turns spectators into citizens,” Las 12, August, 2009. Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Del Drago, Elena “Pistola d’artista, il colpo di realtà,” Oltreluna, Venice, Italy. July 16, 2009

Diez, G. “El revólver y la bala son de verdad,” La Verdad, Murcia, Spain. August 6,  2009 (illust.)

Furukawa, MinamiThe Performances of Tania Bruguera,” Chicago Art Magazine, Chicago, United States. June 30, 2010 (illust.) 

Hyvonen, Joni “Att träda in i revolutionen,” Vagant, Göteborg, Sweden. September 23, 2013

Marangoni, Agustín “Tania Bruguera”, Elefante Pixelado, Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina. 21 de septiembre, 2009 (ilust.)

Metrópolis “Tania Bruguera,” TVE – La 2, Madrid, Spain. July 15, 2011 (illust. & video)

Pantuyeva, AnyaTania Bruguera: An artist should never avoid looking into hell,”, New York, Moscow, Russia. October 12, 2010 (illust.)

Quiles, Daniel “The artist is absent: notes on Tania Bruguera,” Arte al Día International, no. 132, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2010 (illust.) pp.42-47

_______________, Thalia and Reproduction, December 5, 2010 (illust.)

Rodriguez, Agustina “Bang!,” Aartaa, Montevideo, Uruguay. September 16, 2009

Rubin, Edward “Tania Bruguera Ruffling Feathers Around the World,” Hispanic Outlook, Section: Arts/Profiles, August 2, 2010 (illust.) pp.12-15

Salanova, Marisol “What is art but a temporary space of Freedom?,” Turn on Art: Global Art off the radar, August 18, 2013 (illust.)

Steadman, FreyaTania Bruguera: Fearless to the point of Reckless,” Blog Freya Steadman; Art & Research, March 26, 2013 (illust.) “Autosabotaje,” Videopool, Venice, Italy. June 21, 2009 (video)

Vidal, Álvaro “La provocación rusa de Bruguera,” La razón, Murcia, Spain. September 16, 2009 (illust.)

Vilela, Lucila & Da Rosa, Victor “Un arma cargada sobre la mesa: las performances de Tania Bruguera,” Interartive, Issue #16. December, 2009

Villagrán, Plinio “Tania Bruguera: ritos públicos, ritos privados,” Nota al pie; Reviews and analysis Blog, February, 2012. Guatemala. (illust.)

Villasmil, G. “Tania Bruguera o el Autosabotaje,” Mono Magazine, Sectión: Featuring, p. 35 (illust.)