Soho gallery presents performance art by Maria Jose Arjona, a Colombian

NEW YORK CITY |   Location One, a gallery in Soho, debuts this week the latest iteration of Active Voice, an exhibition by Colombian-born visual artist Maria Jose Arjona.

Active Voice is a performative cycle, and the next component is called The Kiss. It opens Wednesday May 23, with a reception and performance from 6 to 8pm. Additional performances are slated May 30, June 6, and June 13, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Sound design is by Shawn Greenlee. Videographer is Agata Domanska.

Performance art by María José Arjona

“White Series,” a performance-art piece by María José Arjona

What follows comes directly from the press release; it is a description of the performative cycle:

The Kiss is an exhibition mapping a system uniting two bodies. It is a gesture, magnified by the use of sound, emerging from the action of kissing and intensified by the working presence of the performer’s body.

Throughout the space each element is woven by simple associations between body (present and absent), sound, and various materials which are all used to reveal the nature of this binding gesture: the kiss. The exhibition does not display one privileged moment of the kiss – rather, it dislocates it through its many representations, thereby underlining an aural intensity which evokes the possibility of an image of kissing within each spectator.

The exhibition could also be thought of as a microscope slide where some of the components of kissing are extracted and isolated in order to better understand them. It is not a rendering, it is not a choreographed sequence, it doesn’t function within linear time. But it proves the force contained in a simple gesture (kissing) simultaneously giving it a voice and an expanded corporeality.

The audio element is integral to the piece, much more essential than simply serving as a “soundtrack.” On the video “Strap”, the association between a plastic strap used to connect two cables, and the sound it produces when closed is linked with the sound of a kiss. Both sounds are connected by an image where the actual gesture of sending a kiss is recorded while simultaneously two hands close a plastic strap. These two parallel actions, shown digitally, are reflected into the space in the form an object created by the plastic straps.

“The Kiss” (long durational performance), a breathing system where the performer’s body becomes the intersection enabling the entire organism to work, reveals the intricate rhythm between lungs, fluids and muscles while kissing. The body is the kiss: the plane of action created by it. This intersecting plane finds its translation into sound via the repetitive action of inflating and deflating two huge latex balloons.

“Muted”, the second video in the installation, refers to childhood memories of wondering what kissing might feel like; the embracing aspect of it, is associated with the binding function of the straps, the sound carried by the cables interconnecting the speakers, the kisses sent and the edited sound produced by a couple kissing (from where the actual sound emerges)…all of them fluid extensions of the kiss into the space.

Sound as fluid, sound as connector, sound as image, sound as memory, sound, body, sound…time suspended in and by a gesture…also a sound…a minimal voice.


MARIA JOSE ARJONA: Born in Bogota/Colombia 1973 Living and working in New York Master in Plastic Arts HIGHER ACADEMY OF THE ARTS OF BOGOTA (ASAB) 2000 Previously trained as a dancer. Maria Jose Arjona is an artist whose practice is mainly focused on long durational performance. Throughout her career she has developed several approaches to endure, resist, and understand what she considers the biggest and most critical element in performance: TIME Arjona participated as a re-performer of the iconic pieces of Marina Abramovic at her retrospective THE ARTIST IS PRESENT in MOMA (NY) on 2010 and was also involved in the wrokshop “Cleaning The House” given by Abramovic herself. Arjona’s work has been exhibited in numerous institutions, musuems and galleries throughout Europe, South America, Asia and the US and the performances had appeared in publications such as The Guardian(UK), The New York Times, Art In America, Whitewall Magazine, Art Nexus International, Arte Al Dia, The Miami Herald, The New herald, Wynwood Magazine, MAG Magazine,Miami NewTimes, Street, El tiempo (COL), Revista Arcadia (COL), El espectador (COL), Corriere della Sera (IT) and many others.

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One thought on “Soho gallery presents performance art by Maria Jose Arjona, a Colombian

  1. Pingback: Walk over me: Stepping over Balkan performance artist Igor Josifov is both a work and a walk of art « in the theater of One World

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