Project statement 


‘What is art, other than the seemingly magical transformation of material into images or forms that speak to us? This is nothing short of a metamorphosis, the literal absorption of the artist into their work’.  (Andrew Sayers)


Catalina Renjifo

Self-evident: To be named by ranking survey*, 2021

Video performance, audio (voice and sound) and printed score (etching and aquatint)


Title options:

*Headless, Portrait of the woman artist at work

*Airhead, Portrait of the woman artist at work

*Invisible, Portrait of the woman artist at work

*Selfmade, Portrait of the woman artist at work

*Self-evident, portrait of the artist at work 

*Under the hood, Portrait of the artist at work

Self-evident is a video performance with voice and music track and a printed ‘score’ of choreographed gestures, as an editioned etching and aquatint print. The work is ‘to be named by ranking survey’: as viewers exit they will have the opportunity to rank the possible titles by preference. The preferred option selected will be the title for that particular showing. 

The project was formulated during the 2021 ‘Womanhood’ online residency with Cel del Nord, sparked by wordplay that asserts the artist as the ultimate ‘hood woman’, who with confidence and street smarts allows us to look ‘under the hood’. 

I created a score with a sequence of gestures and I used it to guide my body in action, specifically my hands with the aim to visualise the ‘act of making’.  In the video performance the hands move like on an air guitar or as if conjuring a spell over a cauldron, at the height of an invisible head. The hands describe an immaterial work, a ‘process without object’. I do what I normally do when I make objects, perform it as an intuitive choreography: I practice and visualise, I remove myself from the work, I do the work but I am invisible. 

A constant thematic thread in my work is poiesis or becoming, how things come into being, their passage into existence borne by creative moment and iterative thought. I have made images and objects around this theme, and I am fascinated by the fact that they too were nothing before being something. Choosing performance as the approach, I tackle the subject to ‘practice’ making, to show how it is done, to focus on the movements without an object. It provides a focus on the creative act and it is also a portrait of the artist at work.

Performance is a challenge that doesn't come naturally. The choice was also partly a matter of circumstance, finding myself temporarily without a studio, tools and materials stored away and empty handed, it was clear that my material was the artist. It is important that I am present but not fully visible in the work. Aside from feeling awkward and vulnerable, I refuse to meet the expectations of what an artist should look like, be defined by how I look, as a woman, and one who may or may not pass as european. But as a woman I am brave and not afraid to fail. During a residency session, whilst trying to define the kind of artist I am, I could only come up with: ‘I do what it takes’. I stand by that. 


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