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Maria José Arjona: You Are Splendid!

The exhibition “You are Splendid!” is the outcome of a research project lasting more than two years which the Columbian artist Maria José Arjona has dedicated to the world of birds.

Arjona’s observations of migratory birds began in New York, the most northerly point of the hemisphere in which the artist from the equatorial region has ever lived. The impulse for the project came to Maria José Arjona through an encounter with a birdwatcher in Central Park in New York. She started up an intensive exchange with the birdwatcher who she also found out was a scientist. He enlightened her to the fact that she was not the only creature roaming almost invisibly through the streets of New York who was actually from the tropical rain forest. The migratory birds of her home country share a common migratory route along the north-south axis of the two Americas with thousands of Latin American migrants.

For someone like Arjona who grew up with the magic realism of Latin American literature, the poetic parallels between birds and migrants are obvious: Maria José Arjona transposes her personal stories and those of all the people who roam through foreign countries, climate zones and cultures, into images and drawings, objects, sounds and melodies, videos, performances and installations.

Arjona used her stay in Osnabrück to continue her research on migratory birds while working on the premises of the Kunsthalle. During her stay she created a show and developed six different performances in the space. Maria José Arjona ceaselessly reconstructed,  re-installed and reconfigured new interrelations in which she presented her different, partly participatory and interactive performances. Visitors and other artists are invited to co-create, co-conceive and co-experience with her and share their experience with the artist every Tuesday in a conversation on a sofa installed in the foyer of the Kunsthalle.

The exhibition which was presented as a production process to be witnessed in situ opened up new perspectives into topics & issues that are seemingly familiar to the ear and no longer heard but drew attention to the small and great miracles, to the terror and anxiety ensuing from the migration movements of our time.

The genesis of the project could be followed on Kunsthalle Osnabrück’s Facebook page  Maria José Arjona is the first Facebook guest poster  of Kunsthalle Osnabrück.

Performance dates

Sunday, 31 January, 11 am – 6 pm
Flight Plan. First meeting, a display and a tableau vivant.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday 5-7 February, 4 pm each day
The Second Messenger. A tobacco ritual for spiritual cleansing and knowledge enhancement.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday 12-14 February, 2 pm – 6 pm each day
Life. A meditative sound performance.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday 19-21. February, 2 pm – 6 pm each day
A Little Bird Told Me. An invitation to be all ears.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday 26-28 February, 12 pm – 6 pm each day
Migration. A moment of leisure and talk for everyone who wants to venture on a stopover in the Kunsthalle.Friday, 4 March and Sunday, 6 March
Flight. A poetic group performance about the magic and effort inherent in taking-to-the-air.

“You Are Splendid!” was supported by grants from ifa Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations and by the Ministery of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony.


COMMUNITY_ Kunsthalle Osnabrück

ART FORM_ Public Performance

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