Conversacíon con baño de agua tibia
Born in New York in 1940, the Venezuelan performance artist Antonieta Sosa’s education was trans-disciplinary: she practiced ballet, attended art classes at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas Cristóbal Rojas in Caracas, studied psychology at the Universidad Central de Venezuela and graduated from UCLA’s Department of Visual Arts. After returning to Venezuela in the early 1970s, she founded the Contradanza Group. Reflecting on one of her first key performances, she once articulated important poetic and political concerns of performance art and feminist practices: “Sometimes it’s necessary to make a break in order to be able to continue moving forward. To break with prejudices, to break with habits, to break with the limitations that we impose on ourselves, or that fear imposes on us, to break away from our own limits. When we break, an energy is generated.” Later in the 1990s, Sosa created a personal measuring system based on her own body – the anto [a contraction of her name], which is equivalent to her height of 5 feet 4 inches: “The idea is to measure the world with a female body.”
In Conversacíon con baño de agua tibia (Conversation with a warm bath), Sosa remained seated while she was slowly and completely bandaged with toilet paper by another woman, Helena Villalobos. During the action, the audience listened to a taped conversation between the artist Héctor Fuenmayor and the composer Alfredo del Mónaco about whether a work of art is a discursive form or a way of thinking. At the end of the performance, Villalobos bathed Sosa, dissolving the sculpture created on the artist’s body.
Performance: Galería de Arte Nacional, Caracas
Courtesy Antonieta Sosa