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Tania Bruguera

Installation and Performance Artist, Archivist
Born 1968, Havana, Cuba
Lives in New York, NY

Photo by Claudio Fuentes.

Biography

Tania Bruguera is a Cuban installation and performance artist whose practice pivots around issues of power and control. Often interrogating and re-presenting events in Cuban history, Bruguera's work investigates how art applies to everyday political life, focusing on the conversion of social affect into political effectiveness.

As the 2018 Tate Modern Hyundai Commissioned Artist, Bruguera fostered the creation of the Tate Neighbours. Comprised of people who live and work in the same London postcode as the Tate Modern, the Tate Neighbours seek to explore how the museum can learn and adapt to its local community. Bruguera's work can be found in the permanent collections of many institutions, including The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana, Havana, Cuba.

Bruguera initiated the formation of Immigrant Movement International (2010-15), a community agency that provided social services to immigrants and transnational residents. As part of Migrant People Party (2010-15), a "party of ideas" conceived as a new form of mass political organization, Bruguera launched an Immigrant Respect Awareness Campaign and established an international day of actions on December 18, 2011, which the United Nations has designated as International Migrants Day. Bruguera also founded The Arte de Conducta (Behavior Art) program at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba to study the relationship between performative arts and politics and their possible implementations in society.

Bruguera has been named a National Endowment for the Humanities/Hannah Arendt Center Distinguished Visiting Fellow (2017), a Yale World Fellow (2015), and is the recipient of a Meadows Prize (2013). She holds an M.F.A. in Performance from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as degrees from the Instituto Superior de Arte and the Escuela de Artes Plásticas San Alejandro in Havana, Cuba.

Artist Statement

As an artist I have been researching ways in which Art can be applied to everyday political life, not only as its dispositive for self-reflection but as a way to generate and install models for social interactions that could provide new ways to engage with utopia. The concept of the ephemeral is one that presents itself in the form of the political and its effectiveness. The political is elaborated in my work at specific locations, behaviors, and negotiation processes all with a consciousness of its temporality and range of actions. I consider my work to be contextual art, one that subordinates any pre-conceived notion of aesthetic or artistic strategies to the needs of the here and now, of the currency, weight, and impact of the events in relationship with specific moments of history and audiences. The ephemeral is also located in the problem of authorship, which tends to be distributed and disseminated among the participant-performers in my work.

December 2018