María Magdalena Campos-Pons

Born 1959 | Matanzas
Lives and works Nashville

María Magdalena Campos-Pons’s multi-disciplinary practice focuses on issues of history, memory, gender, and religion. Her work is frequently autobiographical, informed by stories of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and honouring the work carried out by Black slaves on sugar and indigo plantations. Meanwhile the Girls Were Playing 1999–2000 forms a microcosmic landscape with three bundles of fabric surrounded by hundreds of jewel-like blue, green, and yellow glass paste flowers spread out in concentric circles across the gallery floor. A video is projected on the wall and at the centre of each of these three circles. The videos feature cycles of repeated activities, including birds circling a feeder, children playing jacks, a woman holding flowers, and a spinning top. Implicit in these vivid images is the landscape of childhood, a protected world insulated from the political, social, and cultural realities of adulthood.

María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Meanwhile the Girls Were Playing 1999–2000. Metallic silk organza, embroidered fabric, pâte de verre flowers, and four projected videos. Installation dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist and Gallery Wendi Norris. Installation view, 14th Gwangju Biennale (2023). Image courtesy Gwangju Biennale Foundation. Photo: glimworkers