El peso de la culpa (Sin título #3)
chromogenic print
2634 x 24 in. (68 x 61 cm.)
Executed in 1998.
Edition three of five.
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner.
H. Block, Art Cuba: The New Generation, New York, Harry Abrams, 2001 (another edition illustrated, p. 52).
M. Álvarez, "Localismo y señalamiento en el arte cubano de los noventa," Ensayos: Historia y Teoría del Arte, no. 11, September 2006 pp. 40-41 (another edition illustrated, p. 49).
R. Weiss, To and from: Utopia in the New Cuban Art, Minneapolis, university of Minnesota Press, 2011 (another edition illustrated, p. 234).
Gainesville, Florida, Harn Museum of Art; Sarasota, Florida, John & Marble Ringling Museum of art; Eugene, Oregon, Jordan Schnitzer Museum; Manitoba, Canada, Winnipeg Art Gallery; Coral Gables, Florida, Lowe Art Museum; Katonah, New York, Katonah Museum of Art, Cuba Avant-Garde: Contemporary Cuban Art from the Farber Collection, May 2007- September 2010, pp. 54- 58 (illustrated, p. 57).
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Lot Essay

A self-styled “artivist”—artist, activist, citizen—Bruguera has developed an interdisciplinary practice of social and political critique that has, since the 1990s, addressed aspects of freedom, power, and censorship, often in defiance of the Cuban state. She has mounted interventions and performances around the world, notably at the Seventh Havana Bienal (2000), at the Tate Modern (2008, 2018), and at Documenta 15 (2022). Through her commitment to “arte útil” and the creation of the Instituto de Artivismo Hannah Arendt, Bruguera has collaborated with museums and community organizations—as well as ordinary citizens—to effect social transformation.
Bruguera first performed El peso de la culpa at her home during the Sixth Havana Biennial in 1997. For forty-five minutes, she ate dirt—moistened balls of soil—while a lamb carcass hung from her neck. The work pays homage to a group of indigenous Cubans who, under threat of Spanish colonization, chose to eat dirt “as a weapon of resistance” until they died. “‘The Burden of Guilt’ is the recovery and realignment of this story,” Bruguera has explained. “The burden is really the slaughtered lamb that hangs from the neck like a shield, like an open wound that reveals what’s inside. The lamb is the weight that is carried as a consequence, as well as a symbolic attitude; the emotion, saltwater which drops like tears and washes the earth, which is the guilt, before it is digested” (“The Burden of Guilt,” Corpus Delecti: Performance Art of the Americas, New York, 2000, p. 154).
Abby McEwen, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, College Park

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