Patricia Belli

Patricia Belli, Bodas de trapo, 1996, photo: Daniela Morales Lisac; TEOR/éTica, San José

In her practice Patricia Belli blends sculpture, painting, video, photography, and drawing, combining them with the collaborative, nonhierarchical learning tactics she pursues as an educator. For Belli, pedagogy and administrative work are labors of radical care that can undermine traditional hierarchies in educational settings and that are inseparable from the labor of art-making.

In the late 1990s, Belli began to sew together fragments of found clothing, fabrics, and textiles. The garments both suture into and spill out of the canvas, creating hybrid assemblage objects. Her chosen fabrics invoke the labors and affects of feminine corporeality and propriety—lacy garter-belt straps, diaphanous silk slips, sleeves with rows of tiny buttons, nylon pantyhose. These elegant materials take on a more biomorphic, even monstrous effect when repeatedly folded and stitched together into layered, uncanny masses of material, as if evoking the banal horrors of domesticity and aging.

In Desequilibradas (Unbalanced, 2018), familiar intimate forms continue to be destabilized. Viewers are encouraged to interact with and knock against the twelve Styrofoam and resin life-size heads on the floor, six of which emit sounds disrupting the experience of balance and stability.

—Abbe Schriber

  • Akademie der Künste


Bodas de trapo (Rag Wedding), 1996
Fabric, second-hand garter belts, blazer
Collection Universidad Centroamericana (NCU), Managua

Desquilibradas (Unbalanced), 2018
Life-size polystyrene foam heads, weighted, sealed with resin, sound with variable durations
Courtesy Patricia Belli
Commissioned and produced by Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art

Diálogo (Dialogue), 2000
Bass parts, fabric dolls, thorns
Courtesy Patricia Belli

Nidos de lagrimas (Tränennest Nest of Tears), 1997
Fabric, photo emulsion painting, stockings, filling
Private collection