Regina José Galindo
b. 1974, Guatemala City
Regina José Galindo was born in 1974 in Guatemala City. She has completed residencies with Le Plateau, Paris (2005); Artpace, San Antonio, Texas (2008); and Chateau Třebešice, Czech Republic (2009).
Working in the context of a newly democratized society, Galindo has developed a socially and politically motivated practice in which she strives to acknowledge the thirty-six years of civil war her country endured, but also looks forward to a more peaceful and productive future. In her most celebrated work, Who Can Erase the Traces? (Quién puede borrar las huellas?, 2003), she walked barefoot through the streets of Guatemala City, from the Palacio Nacional de la Cultura to the Corte de Constitucionalidad, carrying a basin filled with human blood into which she periodically dipped her feet. The trail of footprints visualized her reaction to the recent news that Efraín Ríos Montt, a former military dictator responsible for the most destructive period of the country’s internal conflict, had been permitted to run for president despite constitutional prohibitions. In this work, the line between Galindo’s body as object and subject was so subtle that the blood covering her feet appeared to be her own; she embodied the war’s victims, taking their blood as hers and appropriating their suffering.
Galindo’s oeuvre highlights old problems that persist in the “new” Guatemala. Her works are combative and often shocking, bringing into the public realm topics that few Guatemalans dare confront. Works like Bitch (Perra, 2005), in which she cut her thigh with a knife, or Hymenoplasty (Himenoplastia, 2004), in which she underwent surgery to rebuild her hymen, challenge the ways that women are objectified in her highly conservative homeland. Galindo’s unapologetically graphic actions amplify her confrontational statements. She aims to stir her Guatemalan viewers from passivity, disrupting a numbness born from long years of violence.
Galindo has had solo exhibitions at Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Arnhem, Netherlands (2008), Modern Art Oxford (2009); Muzeul Național de Artă Contemporană, Bucharest (2010); Fundación Joaquim Nabuco, Recife (2011); Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, California (2012); Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain (2013); and Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan (2014). Her work has been featured in the group exhibitions Arte ≠ Vida: Actions by Artists of the Americas 1960–2000, El Museo del Barrio, New York (2008), and I Have a Dream, Thessaloniki Centre of Contemporary Art, Salonika (2013). She participated in the Havana Biennial (2009); Venice Biennale (2009 and 2011); Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates (2011); Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia (all 2011); and Cuenca Biennial, Spain (2012). She has received several awards, including the Golden Lion for a Promising Young Artist at the Venice Biennale, and the Grand Prize Award at the Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia (2011). In 2014, she completed a residency with Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin. Galindo lives and works in Guatemala City.