Tania Bruguera and selected artists from Cátedra Arte de Conducta

Lorenzo Fusi

From: Fusi, Lorenzo. “Tania Bruguera and selected artists from Cátedra Arte de Conducta. Series of artworks, happenings and events newly commissioned for Touched,” Published on the occasion of the exhibition “Touched” Liverpool Biennial 2010. Curated by Lorenzo Fusi. Ed. Biggs, Domela, Waldron and Kirk “Liverpool Biennial International Festival of Contemporary Art The Guide.” Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art Ltd. September 2010, London, England (illust.) pp. 14 – 15. 

ISBN 978-0-9536761-8-7


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Tania Bruguera and selected artists from Cátedra Arte de Conducta

by Lorenzo Fusi

Tania Bruguera’s performances and social interventions question and subvert the connections between art and life.  Frequently, she requires the viewer to cross the boundaries that conventionally define the role of the audience and that of the artist, and so question their own relationship to the politics of creative expression.

For instance, when uniformed policemen on horseback herded visitors into the centre of the Tate Modern Turbine Hall in the 2008 performance Tatlin’s Whispers, it was the audience’s subservience that created the artwork. Similarly, Bruguera’s infamous 2009 performance in Bogotá involved offering free cocaine to an audience listening to a panel discussion on the possibilities for heroism under the current circumstances in Colombia.  Her interest in the response and participation of the audience does not exempt the artist herself from the responsibilities of political art, even envisioning its most extreme consequences: the artist’s own death (noticeably in the piece Autosabotage devised for The Fear Society during the 2009 Venice Biennale).

In 2002, Bruguera initiated Cátedra Arte de Conducta, the first performance an time-based art studies programme in Latin America devoted to political art.  According to the artist, this alternative art school was designed to explore “the way in which ethics, ideology and history intertwine with memory, sociology, history of art”.  The Cátedra, an enterprise now concluded, promoted a new generation of political artists whose international recognition is the most important result of Bruguera’s initiative.  The former participants (now artist in their own right) will work in Liverpool around two themes: the utopian city and Allan Kaprow’s cultural and artistic legacy.  These two apparently separate topics are in fact linked through their mutual aims: they attempt to “touch” the city; they deconstruct and question the traditional notion of museum (as the only physical and mental space where art can be presented, consumed and produced); and they cut across the demarcation lines that separate politics, art and life.

Bruguera and Lorenzo Fusi jointly selected the participants committed to this collective experiment of institutional critique: Ana Olema Hernández Matamoro, Ariel Orozco Rodriguez, Carlos Martiel, Reynier Leyva Novo, Lavastida Cordovi Hamlet, Jeanette Chavez Ruiz, Jesus Hernandez Hernandez, James Roger Bonachea Guerra, José Fidel García Valenzuela, La Vaugn Belle, Levi Enrique Orta Mendoza, Loydis Carnero Pineda, Núria Güell Serra, Omni-Zonafranca (group), Yaima Carrazana Ciudad, Yali Romagosa Sanchez, and Bram Kaprow.