“Artists in Protest. An analysis of the relationship between performance and protest art in Tania Bruguera’s practice”

This paper is an extracted chapter of my dissertation submitted in January 2023. 

Overall the dissertation explores the intersection between protest and art, starting from the Social turn of the 1990s. This historical period brought a shift to the previously shared meanings and production of art and, therefore, to the development of art as a form of activism.

The focus and boundary of this investigation draw on the Latin American artist and activist Tania Bruguera. Through the compounds of predominantly performances, social interventions, and installations, Bruguera aims to blur the line between art and life and make art a useful tool for the participants in her works. 

The research focuses on analysing the pedagogic strategies implemented by Bruguera in her art practice and how they possibly affected the ‘outside,’ that is, the geographical area, institutions, and societies in which they took place. Therefore, two works conceived by the artist are presented and investigated. The first will be the Tatlin’s Whisper performances series, and the second the Museum of Arte Útil.

The paper begins by providing an overview of the most relevant historical and artistic events within the history of Cuba in the 20th century that influenced the artist’s life and practice. Subsequently, the main body focuses on presenting her two projects and their lasting impact and legacy.

Overall this study aims to make the artist’s practice more recognised, to inform on the positive aspects that art can have outside the art world, and directly on the daily life of the societies in which the works of Tania Bruguera are enacted.

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