The Presences and Doings of María Teresa Hincapié

In María Teresa Hincapié. If This Were a Beginning of Infinity, Turner – MACBA (Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona) – MAM (Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín, Barcelona y Medellín, pp. 42-66. ISBN: 978-84-18895-67-8

This essay explores the form of theatre at the heart of María Teresa Hincapié’s artistic practice. It considers the context and genealogies, but makes no claim to be exhaustive, nor does it aim to tackle specific analyses of her performances. Instead it focuses on a number of experiences and ideas in which her theatre training and her constant self-identification as an actress proved significant. Research into her work was made possible by a stay in Colombia financed by the UCLM, and numerous meetings and encounters. I would like to express my particular thanks to Claudia Segura, Rolf Abderhalden, Heidi Abderhalden, Juan Monsalve, Sofía Monsalve, Paula Bossa, Carolina Ponce de León, Marta Rodríguez, Álvaro Restrepo, Emiliano Valdés, José Alejandro Restrepo and Santiago Zuluaga.

If living is walking.

And making decisions.

There are paths you can head down and then retrace your steps with no serious consequences. But there are crossroads at which, once you have chosen one direction or another, there is no turning back.

Then there are thresholds that open in the most unexpected places but which are invisible. To discover them, it is not enough simply to walk about in a distracted state; you have to be alert, prepared to listen, with every muscle, every pore, defying the lethargy of our animal being.

Walking life. And allowing yourself to cross the landscape, venturing into the unknown, surrendering to love, feeling the earth, sustaining memory, working out grief, rebelling, caring, cultivating, nurturing hope, not losing your joyfulness.

If the theatre is a way. 

The theatre is a place where the experience of transformation is made visible. But the transformation is no longer represented − or not just represented − but announced, demanded, realized. And its radicalism can be just as intense as the involvement with which you act or the manifestation you witness. Being an actress requires you to situate your own body in the experience of otherness, whether by incorporating the lives, passions or ideas of others or by exploring the unknown Other who beats within you. It is a matter of allowing your body to be affected by outside forces, to discover capacities and dimensions of awareness you knew nothing of or which you had forgotten when you abandoned childhood or mere formless being. Acting only makes sense if it enables the growth of life, when it is work in favour of life.

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