The Artsy Vanguard 2019: Teresa Burga
Teresa Burga by Sebastian Montalvo Gray. Courtesy of 80m2 Livia Benavides, Lima.
Teresa Burga’s most iconic project, Profile of the Peruvian Woman (1980–81), was an investigation into the lives of middle-class Peruvian women through meticulous surveys. The artist went on to display the results through a series of objects, including a colorful indigenous yarn grid (or quipu). Her brightly painted, two-dimensional female bodies from 1967 appear playful, but are meant to parody ideals of femininity. Most impressive of Burga’s practice is that she has been questioning technology and information in her art since the 1970s. A pioneer of installation, media, and technology-driven art, Burga was also a founding member of the 1960s avant-garde group Arte Nuevo, known for producing Happenings, Op art, and Pop art.
Over the last two years, Burga was picked up by New York gallery Alexander Gray Associates and has had six solo shows around the world, including at the S.M.A.K. Museum of Contemporary Art in Ghent and the Migros Museum in Zurich. She also shows with Galerie Barbara Thumm and 80m2 Livia Benavides. Migros director Heike Munder emphasized that Burga was often ahead of her time: “Her playfulness and comments on gender issues are outstanding even today,” Munder said. “The unifying constant in the artist’s formally and aesthetically diverse output in a wide range of media is her insistent endeavor to visualize complex social structures, but also the individual’s capacity for practical self-determination. Although Burga does not see herself as an openly political artist, her work is a probing exploration of modern society.”