Beatriz Albuquerque, artist
Beatriz Albuquerque, Performance Color, 2008 PerforArtNet 2008, Galeria Santa Fe, Casa tres Patios, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Bogota / Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Caracas, Fundacion Nelson Garrido, Bogota – Columbia / Caracas – Venezuela.
Beatriz Albuquerque is an interdisciplinary Portuguese artist living in New York. She is known for her interdisciplinary practices between performance and cross media. She has developed an autonomous work in which performance art is her central focal point. She was recently awarded the Revelation Award (Prémio Revelação), 17ª Biennial de Cerveira, Portugal (2013). She was also awarded the Myers Art Prize: cross media, Columbia University, New York (2009) and the Ambient Series Performance Award, PAC / edge Performance Festival, Chicago (2005). She generously shares with LFF about the impact of seeing an art performance as a small child, her inspirations and process, her current project dealing with capitalism and society and much more…
Where are you from? How did you get into art/performing?
BA: I am an interdisciplinary and cross media performance artist from Porto, Portugal.
I remember being a small kid and seeing a performance from a Portuguese artist that now I know his name - Albuquerque Mendes. I remember thinking until that moment that art was an object such as painting and sculpture and nothing else. But this 1st encounter I remember entering the space and seeing a crowd watching a person doing movement with dust and fire and then turning to my mother, fascinated and asked, “What is this”, she replied “It is art. It is a performance.”
Beatriz Albuquerque, Performance Crise no Amor, 2010 Triangle Arts Trust International Residence, Home and Abroad, Sintra - Portugal.
Tell me about your inspirations, process.
BA: My inspiration comes from everyday life and the office that is my head so I´m always creating and developing projects wherever I am physically. My process continues then after inspiration and by creating 2-D forms such as writing, drawings, sketches and photos of the project. Then I transform it into 3D forms such as mockups or even 3D printed sculptures which then became an installation in which I perform in it. I believe that the body is what gives identity and through the body performance appears. Performance is an extension of the body. The extension of the performance is 3D sculpture, photo or video and an extension of this is installation.
Tell me about your current project and why its important to you.
BA: I believe that art should reach out to all persons. Thinking about this and the Capitalistic society and commercial world that we live in, I created my on-going performance project “Work For Free,” in which I offer myself to work for free creating any artwork that the public desires. This performance action is a social gift in which a work of art is fashioned especially for the person that interacts with the performance. This free artwork can be chosen from different pool of mediums such as: e-mail art, digital photo, web art, digital drawing, decollage, among others. Until now, this Project has been done in different countries and venues such as New York, Macy Gallery or Grecce, Biennial of Thessaloniki, and I created until now a total of 183 free works of art customized for the active audience.
I believe that art can bring change to the persons that are touched by it and then these persons change the world. Activism is a practice that is always active in my artwork and Projects. An example of this is my recent performance/installation on-going project called Crisis of Luck, as a response to the crisis in Portugal and Europe, where I presented myself as an oracle priestess who foretells and responds to questions asked pertaining to the crisis that we live in, and provide the solution to the problems. From this premise, an installation was created in the space using 3D sculpture, photo, video and food in which the public was invited to enter and interact with the performer, who responded to their problems and misfortunes. In this idea, I became an oracle that answered all questions for the audience in three forms: verbally, written and through a customized cake.
Beatriz Albuquerque, Performance Crise na Fortuna / Crisis of Luck, 2013 17ª Bienal de Cerveira: Arte: Crise e Transformação, Vila Nova de Cerveira - Portugal.
Does feminism play a role in your work?
I believe that all men and women are equal and deserve the same opportunities and rights. In this way feminism always plays a role in my performances.
However, before 2005 I created performance pieces that addressed the gap or lack of equal rights between men and women, the condition and descrimination of women in relation with men. At this time I was living in Portugal and I could see the lack of oportunites and descrimination that women were suffering from, for example in the job/work force. Once I saw an ad asking for a white man (computer trouble shooting) for one job and a woman for another (secretary). So I was developing themes in my artwork and performances related to the environment and daily life that I was experiencing. By 2005 I went to undertake an MFA at SAIC, this was my first contact with the USA. This lead me to explore different themes in my performances as it was such a shock coming from a socialist society to be confronted with a capitalist society.
Advice for aspiring artists?
You have the power to choose your life the way you want it and the power to achieve it.
Les Femmes Folles is a completely volunteer run organization founded in 2011 with the mission to support and promote women in all forms, styles and levels of art with the online journal, anthologies, books, exhibitions and events; originally inspired by artist Wanda Ewing and her curated exhibit by the name Les Femmes Folles (Wild Women). LFF was created and is curated by Sally Deskins. LFF Books is a micro-feminist press that publishes 1-2 books per year by the creators of Les Femmes Folles including Intimates & Fools (Laura Madeline Wiseman, 2014). Other titles include Les Femmes Folles: The Women 2011, 2012 and 2013, available on blurb.com,(get 15% your blurb purchase using code BLURB2014 expires 8/27/14) including art, poetry and interview excerpts from women artists. A portion of the proceeds from LFF books and products benefit the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Wanda Ewing Scholarship Fund.