35th Bienal de São Paulo
6 Set to 10 Dec 2023
Free Admission
35th Bienal de
São Paulo
6 Set to 10 Dec
Exhibition view of the work of Marilyn Boror Bor during the 35th Bienal de São Paulo – choreographies of the impossible © Levi Fanan / Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

Marilyn Boror Bor

For the Bienal de São Paulo, the Maya-Caqchiquel artist Marilyn Boror Bor presents two projects that explore her commitment to the counter-ethnographic gaze and the disarticulation of forms of coloniality. Following the models of the European monument and ethnographic museography, Bor’s objects and actions modify hegemonic perceptions and the view of a public conditioned by stereotypes and prejudices. Monumento vivo [Live Monument] (2023) is an action in which the artist’s own body, dressed in her own Mayan costume, is placed on a base where her legs have been momentarily trapped in cement. Nos quitaron la montaña, nos devolvieron cemento [They Took the Mountain From Us, They Gave Us Back Cement] (2022), consists of a series of traditional objects made with cement. Like small fictions, Marilyn replaces the corn of the food with cement and the clay of the pots with the weight of this material through which the original soul (cux, in Caqchiquel language) and symbolic value are lost. Both works of art are a response to the debates about the model of economic development in Guatemala and the ferocious extractivism that affects so many people on the continent and, in particular, in San Juan Sacatepéquez, where the artist was born. Both the monument and the objects are an act of enunciation of the conflicts generated by the implementation of an industry that is literally covering fertile fields, water sources and all living resources of the region with concrete dust.

There is no such word as art amongst native people. The use of these western elements associated with the art world is a strategy to reveal a plight but also to rescue the presence and reverberation of the original referents. Marilyn Boror Bor’s intention is to take advantage of certain features of these totalizing, institutionalized and academic languages in order to dismantle the common clichés that multiculturalism has provided. Her desire as a contemporary Indigenousindigenous artist is to rescue cosmogonies that have been invisibilized and fragmented over the centuries.

rossina cazali
translated from Spanish by ana laura borro

Marilyn Boror Bor (San Juan Sacatepéquez, Guatemala, 1984. Lives in San Juan Sacatepéquez) is a Maya-Kaqchikel artist whose work stands in opposition to patriarchal and racist views through drawing, painting, photography, graphics, installation, and performance. Among others, her work has been exhibited in the BIENALSUR 2021 (Argentina), Bienal del Sur – Pueblos en resistencia (Venezuela), and the XIX, XX, XXII and XXIII Paiz Art Biennial (Guatemala).