María Teresa Hincapié: If This Were a Beginning of Infinity is the first major exhibition dedicated to the pioneering practice of this Colombian artist (1954–2008).
Specialised in what could be called “the poetics of everyday life”, through which she transformed simple actions into sacred rituals, her practice resisted any specific categorisation, seeing as it oscillated between life, creation in movement and the search for communion with the planet.
Hincapié began her practice in theatre as a member of the group Acto Latino, influenced in turn by the ideas of Jerzy Grotowski (1933–1999) and the experimental horizons this Polish theatre director opened up around the concept of poor theatre. In 1990, Hincapié received the first prize at the XXXIII National Salon of Colombian Artists for her long-running performance Una cosa es una cosa [A Thing Is a Thing], thus becoming the first ephemeral, non-objectual work to obtain the award. The action consisted of placing all the objects the artist had in her home in the exhibition space and interacting with them for eight hours straight over the course of several days.
In 1996, Hincapié received this distinction again thanks to Divina Proporción [Divine Proportion], a performance piece that led her to inhabit the exhibition space for days, walking around very slowly and taking care of the grass she sowed in the gaps between the concrete slabs on the floor. The previous year, Hincapié began her ambitious project Hacia lo sagrado [Towards the Sacred] with a trek from Bogotá to San Agustín, on a 550-kilometre journey that lasted 21 days, passing through areas of armed conflict and feeding on seeds and panela (unrefined sugar).
In this action of survival she performed ritual practices with a clear mystical vocation which, from that moment on, would become the fundamental nucleus of her poetics. Art became the guiding force of her existence, not only providing a framework for her creativity but also influencing her ethics and understanding of politics.
At the end of the 1990s she bought a estate (La Fruta) in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, near the sacred settlement of the Koguis, which could only be reached on foot. There she created an arts residency that she called Village-School, a project she kept alive until her final days.
Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA)
Plaça dels Àngels, 1, 08001 Barcelona
From 20 October 2022 to 26 February 2023