Allora & Calzadilla

Jennifer Allora was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1974. Guillermo Calzadilla was born in 1971 in Havana, Cuba. Allora received a BA from the University of Richmond in Virginia (1996) and an MS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2003); Calzadilla received a BFA from Escuela de Artes Plásticas, San Juan, Puerto Rico (1996) and an MFA from Bard College (2001).

Collaborating since 1995, Allora and Calzadilla approach visual art as a set of experiments that test whether ideas such as authorship, nationality, borders, and democracy adequately describe today’s increasingly global and consumerist society. Their hybrid works—often a unique mix of sculpture, photography, performance, sound, and video—explore the physical and conceptual act of mark-making and its survival through traces. By drawing historical, cultural, and political metaphors out of basic materials, Allora and Calzadilla’s works explore the complex associations between an object and its meaning.

Major exhibitions include the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago (2007); Kunsthalle Zurich (2007); Dallas Museum of Art (2006); Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (2006); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2004); and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2004). Residencies include P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Center, Long Island City (1998–99); Whitney Independent Study Program, New York (1998–99); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2003–04); and Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, California (2004). Allora and Calzadilla were short-listed for the Guggenheim Museum’s Hugo Boss Prize (2006) and have received a Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) fellowship for 2008. They live and work in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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“For us, the idea of having a work that has contradictions is very important—when, in affirming something, it includes itself and attacks itself. How can you put together all of these things that have nothing to do with each other? You use glue! Glue can be an idea, a word. You can use an ideological glue.”

Allora & Calzadilla