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Why do we break with some traditions and perpetuate others? Artists in this episode use life experiences and family heritage to explore new aesthetic terrain.More information
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Abraham Cruzvillegas assembles sculptures and installations from found objects and disparate materials. Expanding on the intellectual investigation of his own paradoxical aesthetic concepts of autoconstrucción and autodestrucción, he likens his works to self-portraits of contradictory elements and explores the effects of improvisation, transformation, and decay on his materials and work. In his experiments with video, performance, personal and family archives, and academic research, he reveals the deep connection between his identity—born of the realities of his family’s life in Mexico—and his artistic practice.
Tania Bruguera, a politically motivated performance artist, explores the relationship between art, activism, and social change in works that examine the social effects of political and economic power. By creating proposals and aesthetic models for others to use and adapt, she defines herself as an initiator rather than an author, and often collaborates with multiple institutions as well as many individuals so that the full realization of her artwork occurs when others adopt and perpetuate it. She expands the definition and range of performance art, sometimes performing solo but more often staging participatory events and interactions that build on her own observations, experiences, and interpretations of the politics of repression and control.
Inspired by the teachings of the ancient Taoist philosopher Laozi, by the modern artist Brancusi, and the legacy of formative life experiences with his family in Germany and India, Wolfgang Laib creates sculptures that seem to connect that past and present, the ephemeral and the eternal. Working with perishable organic materials (pollen, milk, wood, and rice) as well as durable ones that include granite, marble, and brass, he grounds his work by his choice of forms—squares, ziggurats, and ships, among others. Laib’s attention to human scale, duration of time, and his choice of materials give his work the power to transport us to expected realms of memory, sensory pleasure, and contemplation.