At the heart of Argentinian pop artist, Marta Minujín’s art is this theme: the impermanence of art and the self.
It’s an idea I can get on board with when I compare who I was four years ago, living in San Francisco to the person I am now.
Minujín said art could not be a “static image”. We must “live in art.” It seems like a romantic notion to live in art, but we actually do every day when we create new aspects of self and destroy older parts.
I cannot go back to being a career-oriented box checker with the tidy office job.
I cannot go back to being the bossy eight-year-old with bangs and crooked teeth. We are changed by the events around us, just like Minujín’s art was inspired by the social unrest and brutal dictatorship of her time.
In today’s video, “I Believe in Magic’ by TateShots,” Minujín describes her art in ephemeral terms. Best known for large-scale ‘happenings’ meant to take up space for only short periods of time, her installations engage all five senses of the viewer.
Her exhibits end with the artwork either being deconstructed, destroyed, or sometimes it simply rots away. She did this in her series Arte Agricola en Acción (1977-1979) – it was made from produce like cabbage and grapefruit.
As she sits in her studio, Minujín says her art is defined by the “concepts of life…because ideas come and go, but the concept makes that idea possible.” Her words resonate with me. Since relocating to the palm tree state of Florida, I’ve hopped between living in the U.S. and England. The cardboard and bubble wrapped glassware of my past is a constant weight on my shoulders, reminding me of who I don’t want to be.
In August, I could no longer stand the claustrophobic pressure of my past self stashed away in boxes and taking up space in my family members’ closets. I could never live up to the expectations of my old self in this new life I was living. I was tired of feeling like I was giving up on a part of myself when really I just hadn’t finished destroying who I was so I could create something new. I almost purged everything before catching yet another plane to London.
Harnessing my inner Minujín, I wonder what else in my life needs destroying to create anew. I feel myself itching for rebirth, to engage all five senses.
Marta Minujín – ‘I Believe in Magic’ | TateShots:
It may be overkill but I couldn’t resist adding this second video. In 2015, the Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art made a replica of La Menesunda with Minujín’s consultation using video archives, photographs, and original sketches. She was hesitant to recreate an artwork embedded with so many personal memories. The museum captured Minujín’s reaction as she toured La Menesunda for the first time since 1965: