Dora García “She Has Many Names” M HKA / Antwerp

April 3, 2023

Dora García’s exhibition, “She Has Many Names”, surveys some of the most important performances, drawings, installations, printed matter and films created throughout a career spanning three decades.

Dora García’s practice relates to community and individuality in contemporary society, exploring the political potential of marginal positions, and paying homage to eccentric characters and antiheroes. These characters have often been the centre of her film projects, such as The Joycean Society (2013), Segunda Vez (2018) and Amor Rojo (2023). An essential aspect of García’s work is entanglement with political movements such as feminism, and the ways they occupy public spaces. The notion of ‘collectiveness’ in her work relates to the political potential of love, friendship, companionship, as well as a way of working with and transforming social environments.

“She Has Many Names” is the first exhibition to focus on a central element in García’s work, namely her performance-based practice situated at the intersection of visual and performing arts. Drawing installations, objects and spaces are activated with scripted and unscripted performances. The show considers the relationships between audience, artwork and context, using to the gesture of drawing, writing and the act of speech.

García’s work references texts by French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, Irish novelist James Joyce, Argentine psychoanalyst Oscar Masotta, Chicana-Tejana writer-activist Gloria Anzaldúa and Russian revolutionary-theoretician Alexandra Kollontai among others. The title of the exhibition cites a poem from Anzaldúa’s book Borderlands/La Frontera (1987) in which she challenges the way we understand identity by presenting it as a disputed social, psychological, political and cultural concept. Ideas elaborated by Anzaldúa are close to the critical practice of García, who in her work refers to concepts such as the juncture of cultures, class struggle and different notions of borders in relation to physical and mental spaces.

García’s new feature film Amor Rojo (2023) will premiere as part of this exhibition. The work is part of a large research project based on the historical figure Alexandra Kollontai, a Soviet revolutionary and radical feminist. The experimental film discusses the tradition of over one hundred years of feminism in Europe and Latin America and explores how transnational forms of feminism correlate with ecological and postcolonial struggles. The most recent wave of feminism in Latin America agrees with Kollontai in her proposition that feminism must go beyond the fight for equality, and that a complete change of paradigm, a full subversion of society, is necessary.

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