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b. 1976, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Mika Rottenberg was born in 1976 in Buenos Aires and grew up in Israel. She received a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2000 and an MFA from Columbia University in New York in 2004. Rottenberg's video installations show networks of women, often from the spectacle-based and physically extreme worlds of circus entertainment and bodybuilding, engaged in absurdist processes of production. The artist often screens her videos within built environments that mimic the fantastical constructed realms featured within her films. In Mary's Cherries (2004), several women within surreal pastel chambers collectively fabricate maraschino cherries from red fingernails. In Tropical Breeze (2004), a contortionist chews a stick of gum, which she uses to attach a tissue to a clothesline to transfer it to a truck driver, who returns a sweat-dabbed tissue to the contortionist in a bizarre cyclical process. Dough (2006) presents two women, one obese and another extremely tall and skinny, as they create and transport dough in the form of ropes and blobs, their product inferring their own fleshy corporality and bodily processes. For her video pieces Chasing Waterfalls: The Rise and Fall of the Amazing Seven Sutherland Sisters (2006) and Cheese (2007), Rottenberg investigated the history of the Sutherland sisters, known for their miracle antibaldness serum and their exceedingly long hair, which attracted visitors when they performed in the Barnum and Bailey Circus. In 2008 Rottenberg's film Julie (2004) was screened in Times Square in New York City for a video series organized by Creative Time. That same year, the artist released the series Performance Stills, which isolated images extracted from her earlier films.
Solo exhibitions of Rottenberg's work have been organized by P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in New York (2005) and KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin (2006). Her work has also been included in major exhibitions including the Havana Biennale (2000), New Work/ New Acquisitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2005), Busan Biennale (2006), Moscow Biennale (2007), The Shapes of Space at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (2007), and Whitney Biennial (2008). The artist's work has been recognized with numerous awards including The Cartier Award at the Frieze Art Fair in 2006. Rottenberg lives and works in New York.