Jorge Eielson
El Cuerpo de Giulia-no
Venecia, 1972

The Universe
of the Eielsonian Quipu

por Sharon Lerner

Jorge Eduardo Eielson (Lima, 1921–Milan, 2006) drew no distinctions as he moved between the realm of the image and the realm of the word. Though he formed part of a modernist generation of postwar Peruvian painters inspired by the ancestral past, his art—produced as an exile by volition in Europe—quickly settled on an experimental tone informed by his interest in writing. Be that as it may, Eielson always tried to avoid the restrictions of set categories and genres, as he made clear in an interview with Peruvian writer Julio Ramón Ribeyro:

“[…] I have written articles for newspapers, and I am not a journalist. I have written plays, and I am not a playwright. I also make sculptures without being a sculptor. I have written short stories, and I am not a storyteller. A novel and a half, and I am not a novelist. In 1962, I composed a solemn mass for magnetic tape in honor of Marilyn Monroe, and recently I have been working on a concert, and I am not a musician. As you can see, I’m not anything.” [1]

Eielson’s art is unquestionably tied to the sustained interest on the part of twentieth-century Latin American artists—from Joaquín Torres García and Xul Solar to César Paternosto, to name just one possible line—in connecting abstraction and Native American peoples. [2] While he forms part of that lineage, Eielson is the first of those twentieth-century artists to work with quipus, or knots, that draw inspiration from pre-Columbian cultures. Produced starting in the early nineteen-sixties, that groundbreaking body of work takes the shape of clusters of knots, tensions, and twists in the canvas over the stretcher—abstract constructive elements with chromatic codification organized as a series. In the late nineteen-sixties, Eielson’s quipus took on a sculptural dimension as they jutted out into space as installations. Twists in the canvas would be one of the foundations for performances like El Cuerpo de Giulia-no [The Body of Giulia-No] presented at the 1972 Venice Biennale. Though Eielson’s pictorial system is nominally tied to the bookkeeping system used by the inhabitants of ancient Peru, his variations configure a language that slips away from narrative, anecdote, or historical theme. He is not satisfied to simply reference ancient Andean civilization; he does not fall into nationalist traps. In Eielson’s art, the pre-Columbian is inserted into the present. In the case of the quipus, that insertion is effected by creating a notation system, a system of signs that builds a linguistic bridge over the gap between the pre-Hispanic world and modernity. [3]

As is evident in El Cuerpo de Giulia-no, both novel and performance versions, Eielson created complex images and situations in which he explored the postcolonial marks on his place of origin. He used those marks to construct mobile and multiple cultural and gender identities. His practice as a whole is characterized by “exploration of the vast terrain between visuality, orality, and writing, which entails as well exploration of time and space.” [4] His production encompassed not only the visual and literary arts, but other hard-to-categorize works, works that move fluidly between disciplines and formats: sound experiences and poetic actions with, as critic Juan Acha put it, [5]  “imaginary content” produced for both the public and the strictly private space.

In Eielson’s practice, time for creation is cyclical, and the work open, multiple, and simultaneous. Though his work with quipus has received more attention from collectors in recent years and his literary work is widely recognized—as an artist and as a poet, he is a cult figure for many—Eielson is still largely overlooked in accounts of Latin American art from the second half of the twentieth century, especially his non-object art and most experimental production. His inaugural presence in a program like La historia como rumor [History as Rumor] is, in a sense, at attempt to remedy that absence and introduce him to the general public as the total artist he was.



[1] Julio Ramón Ribeyro, “Eielson y 'El cuerpo de Giulia-no'” in Luis Rebaza Soraluz (ed.), Ceremonia comentada (1946-2005). Textos sobre arte, esté- tica y cultura. Lima, Fondo Editorial del Congreso del Perú, Museo de Arte de Lima, Instituto Francés de Estudios Andinos, 2010, p. 122.

[2] Even one of his first sculptures, La puerta de la noche [Gateway to the Night, 1948], makes a twofold reference, first to the architectonic forms of Tiahuanaco culture, and second to the work of the Uruguayan artist mentioned in the text.

[3] This exploration of the pre-Columbian imaginary pervades his work, albeit in different forms, over time. Arguably the most explicit references to it emerged in the nineteen-eighties in his self-portraits and pictorial series like en Ceremonias [Ceremonies] and Danzas rituales [Ritual Dances], tied to the Chancay culture, and Constelaciones [Constellations] and Cabezas de chamán [Shaman Heads], inspired by Chavín art. In those works, Eielson’s vision of the past evidences an interest in the temporal backs and forths of identity and in the figure of the shaman—and interest he shared with German artist Joseph Beuys. These works are poetically connected to his interest in science, rituals, and the cosmos.

[4] Letter from Eielson to Szeemann, June 1989. Harald Szeemann archive, Getty Research Institute.

[5] Juan Acha, Nudos. Jorge Eielson, artista peruano. Mexico City, Museo de Arte Moderno, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, 1979.

El cuerpo de Giulia-no and the Weave of Feelings

por Gabriela Rangel

Peruvian poet Jorge Eduardo Eielson deployed delicate visual strategies that revolved around the way the body twists when in the grips of emotions and feelings. Eielson, who moved to Europe in the late nineteen-forties, detected that the text (literature), insofar as embarked on a performatic turn, was ceasing to be a model for disruption of thought in the West. First materialized as a brief experimental novel that Eielson started working on in the fifties and published in 1971, and then as a performance in the framework of the 1972 Venice Biennale, El cuerpo de Giulia-no [The Body of Giulia-no] held a veiled critique of Peru’s repressive, moralist, and conservative society. At stake in both the novel and the action is the appropriation of Incan quipu, an element Eielson had used in a series of paintings of the same name in jute and cotton he produced starting in the early nineteen-sixties. The repeated use of the figure of the pre-Hispanic knot as (de)structure and as ritual of intersubjective linkage allowed the artist to unravel the weave of human passions and feelings that would otherwise have become part of a normative modernity’s atavistic “production of subjects.”

In keeping with the rest of Eielson’s work, this brief novel—the artist himself sometimes referred to it as a prose poem—has a sui generis structure: times, spaces, and characters are linked in a spiral that leads to different instances of sexuality as a form of death. In this novel, a tale of initiation and erotic disguising, the repertoire of themes and interests that runs through all of Eielson’s work makes itself felt: memory of the Peruvian social space, deep divide between the country’s capital and its provinces and between classes, namely between the landowners’ feudal world and Indigenous laborers, bearers of knowledges and cosmogonies the narrator considers universal.

The corporal and performatic rendition of Eielson’s quipu undoes any attempt to plot a binary logic by calling forth the lived impasse between reason and body, man and woman, white and Indigenous. The use of the quipu, an ancestral element, is a sort of anti-Oedipal resource that enables the artist to cross the frontier into an exploration of subjectivity that brings with it the dematerialization of the object.

It is not by chance that El cuerpo de Giulia-no’s narrative is rife with twists and turns; in their ambiguity—are they real or apparitions?—an array of superimposed and rotating characters constitutes an early example of identity conceived as performance, and of performance as writing-like modality of the body. Both the book and the ephemeral action in Venice compose a complex meditation on sexuality as concealment of gender. They also show the homoerotic drive, desire broken down into a triangle between two men and a woman—autobiographical issues found throughout Eielson’s visual art. For Eielson, the weave of feelings and passions is a pool of knowledge that he projected in typologies based on the quipu, typologies to which he assigned chromatic combinations according to knot in order to tie those typologies to life, death, love, war, blood, the elements, and heavenly bodies.

Martha Canfield
Poet and executor of the Jorge Eielson estate. She lives and works in Florence, Italy.

She is the chair of the Hispanic Literature Department at the University of Florence. In that city, she founded the Jorge Eielson Studies Center for the dissemination of Latin American culture in 2006. She has published six collections of poems in Spanish and five in Italian, among them Corazón abismo (La Otra, 2013) and Luna di giorno (LietoColle, 2017).

Martha Canfield recalls Eielson’s arrival in Rome in the early fifties, his contact with Lucio Fontana, and his interest first in abstract art and later in collages with fabric. In Canfield’s view, that experimentation would lead him to rediscover the Incan quipu as a way to connect with his ancestral past. The knot, for Eielson, is transcendence, and as such it is associated with cosmogonic elements like black holes—sources of the universe—and other collective images of revelation and hope.

For Eielson, knotting was an extraordinarily positive act. It meant joining, associating, embracing, uniting. It had great sentimental value. He would say, ‘If I am knotting, and that means uniting, I am communing with something not far from me, but near me.’ And that was his ancestral past: the Incan world.”

Gianni Buscaglia
He lives and works in Milan

My twin brother, Alberto, and I met Jorge Eielson in Venice during the press opening of the 1972 Biennale. Many years later, rereading the articles in some of the weeklies that published our photographs (Tempo and Il Mondo), one of the words most used—and stigmatized—was comportamentista (behaviorist). It was used pejoratively to refer to some of the artists who participated in the demonstration at that edition of the biennial. Indeed, one of the principal sections of the biennial was entitled “Artwork or Behavior,” as an antinomy. Some critics and journalists bemoaned the fact that “behaviorism” was the dominant tendency in the biennial. Those same magazines had characterized the previous edition, in 1970, as voyeurista (voyeuristic). At the 1972 edition, Italian artist Gino De Dominicis was condemned for what proved to be a scandalous installation.

So many years later, I can’t help but suspect that some critics and journalists had deliberately dwelled on a work that had, in an unfortunate provocation, produced a scandal in order to fill the headlines of newspapers and magazines rather than report on more interesting artists like Jorge Eielson, who was still lesser known, at least in Italy. Eielson was exhibiting large works (247 metros de algodón crudo [247 Meters of Raw Cotton]) while also preparing a performance, which made him a “behaviorist” as well, using the same raw cotton he used in his colorful and beautiful works in the Peruvian pavilion.

My brother and I were the only photographers lucky enough to be in the spacious Peruvian pavilion that day when Jorge was finishing up 247 metros de tela de algodón crudo and beginning to set up the performance. We jumped at the chance to document creativity in action. It was, for us, like being backstage. Thanks to our previous experience as photographers at the Piccolo Teatro di Milano and early work in film, it came natural to us to move about, our Leica cameras in hand, and aim our lenses at the most interesting things happening in the performance under construction. Our first idea was, undoubtedly, to take what we called a Sequence. (One of our first Sequences, dated 1970, was of Christo wrapping the statue of Leonardo Da Vinci in Milan. We were preparing a show for Il Diaframma gallery in that city. Because of space limitations, only one sequence was featured in the 1974 show, the one of artist Turi Simeti taking apart a glider plane at La Bertesca gallery in Genoa).

Our procedure consisted of being as close as possible to the artist, trying to understand the course of the performance and to capture all the details, the pauses, the trouble handling the materials, the guidance Jorge gave Françoise Pannier, the performance’s young French protagonist. We also tried to capture the close coordination with Michele Mulas, Jorge’s collaborator, as he skillfully handled and modified the heavy cloth. We spent a great deal of time in that large space, and it wasn’t long before we felt very much at ease.

We had finally found the true reason for our presence at the great amusement park that was the biennial. We weren’t there just to take photographs for some magazine or to try to get a portrait of an artist showing work. A magic atmosphere had enveloped us all, and the personal and professional relationship that began that day would prove long-lasting (It went on until my brother and I began working with the Rai, and went from being photographers to scriptwriters, and from there to television, and then theater, directors.)

But our relationship with Eielson had been established. He had his home and studio in Paris, but he went to Milan a lot (he later moved there). In winter 1972, Jorge, after a solo show at Lorenzelli gallery, was working on a performance at Maddalena Carioni’s studio in Milan. Jorge liked the work we had done at the biennial, so he asked us to document this new performance, entitled Paracas-Pyramid, as well. After having examined and chosen the photographs for the sequence, we proposed to Maddalena Carioni making a multiple-exposure image on photosensitive canvas, using a selection of the shots taken at the performance. Eielson, who has returned from Paris, was, naturally, involved as well (he liked the idea). That was the origin of an edition of ten (plus three artist’s proofs for each participant) multiple-exposure photographs on photographic canvas, measuring 80 x 80 cm each. In a letter Jorge wrote in Paris in March 1973 in response to an invitation to a show of ours in Milan, he said he would come to keep working together on multiple-exposure pieces, hinting at a new idea: a series of joint actions “in the Milan subway and elsewhere.” Unfortunately, it never came to pass.

In that spring of 1973, we met up a number of times, one of them at the studio of conceptual artist Mario Fusco, a friend in common. Jorge was working on the series Alfabeto [Alphabet], a sort of miniature rendition of his large quipus. Since we always had our cameras in hand, we took a number of photographs of Eielson’s new work. With Mario Fusco, we invented an action on the question of reflection. There were a number of mirrors in Fusco’s studio (he was a great collector of objects, and his studio was full of stuff), and in the exercise we did Fusco became the photographer, taking portraits of my brother and me, multiplying in the mirror our twined images. Eielson, sometime later, came up with a similar idea regarding our twinness.

One day my brother and I received from Paris an envelope full of typewritten texts: eighty questions each of us had to answer separately. The first questions, until the fifteenth more or less, were easy, things like “What do you think of the current international situation?” But by the seventeenth, the questions got harder, though also a little ironic: 17. “Do you consider John Cage and Marcel Duchamp’s contributions valuable to the creative future of humanity as a whole?” And that vaguely ironic tone that seemed to come through in everything Jorge did is what led me to respond in oblique language, not at all like the serious tone used in corporate tests and trick questions on surveys, a language Eielson himself seemed to be subtly mocking. I remember we spent a lot of time filling in our answers, and I regret not having sent mine back to Jorge (I still have them).

We saw Eielson some months later, on June 7, 1974, when he invited us to attend Musica di Ogando, a performance he did in the cloisters of the Collegio Cairoli in Pavia. We photographed the entire action, which, in many ways, resembled the performance he had done two years earlier at Carioni’s studio. But this one, unlike Paracas-Pyramid, had a soundtrack. None of us can remember who composed the music. Was it John Cage? (Our research unfortunately proved fruitless).

We saw each other once again, also in Pavia, the next year, in winter of 1975, at an opening of Michele Mulas’s solo show in those same university cloisters. Unfortunately, we then lost track of one another, each of us absorbed in his own work.

Cecilia Pardo
Archeologist and curator.
She lives and works in Lima.

She is the curator of an exhibition on Peru (2020–2022) at the British Museum. She has an undergraduate degree in anthropology from the Pontificia Universidad Católica in Peru and a master’s degree in museum studies from the Institute of Archeology at the University College London. She was the curator of collections and of pre-Hispanic art at the Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI, 2006–2017), where she was vice director from 2017 to 2019.

Cecilia Pardo provides a historical overview of khipus—or knots in Quechua—detailing their formal characteristics and their importance to Incan bookkeeping. Pardo points out that khipus were also used as narrative devices in genealogies, stories, and poems. She underscores their use into the present as community emblems.

“During the pre-Hispanic period, the khipu was an archive of information. It was the primary documentation system used in the Andes before the arrival of the Spanish.”

Mariela Dreyfus
Poet and academic.
She lives and works in New York.

She as a doctorate in Latin American literature from Columbia University. She is the author of collections of poetry including Memorias de Electra (Lima, 1984), Placer fantasma (Lima, 1993), Ónix (Lima, 2001), Pez (Lima, 2005), and Morir es un arte (Lima, 2010; 2014). She is currently the graduate advisor of the Creative Writing in Spanish Program at New York University (NYU).

Mariela Dreyfus addresses Eielson’s writing, specifically the importance of the knot at different phases of his poetry and in his novel El cuerpo de Giulia-no. According to Dreyfus, the knot acts on the word in Eielson’s early production by twisting syntax; later, it was geared to the body and physiognomy. The knot—nudo in Spanish—is also tied to the nude—desnudo in Spanish: Eielson’s intention is to bare/untie (desnudar/desanudar) the world to let freedom flow.

“In both his work in the visual arts and in his writing, the nudo (knot) is an essential motif that appears with and counters the desnudo (nude). In the conception and execution of his art, dressing and undressing, masking and unmasking, are two sides of the same operation.”

Miguel López
Researcher and curator. He lives and works in San José, Costa Rica.

He is the chief curator of TEOR/éTica, Costa Rica. His work investigates collaborative dynamics and feminist rearticulations of art and culture in Latin America in recent decades. He is the author of Ficciones disidentes en la tierra de la misoginia (Pesopluma, 2019) and Robar la historia. Contrarrelatos y prácticas artísticas de oposición (Metales Pesados, 2017).

Miguel López analyzes the context in which El cuerpo de Giulia-no was produced, linking that performance to others by Eielson from the nineteen-fifties, when he began work on a novel of the same name. López underscores the hybrid nature of Eielson’s production—it formulates a constant dialogue between literature and theatricality—and its importance as a way to flee and resist the homophobia and violence rampant in Peru at that time.

“Eielson’s works from the late forties and early fifties are an antecedent for an affirmative, critical, and interrogatory exploration of social structures from the place of a sexual identity not recognized by the norm.”

Rodrigo Vera
Art historian and poet.
He lives and works in Lima.

He is a member of the intermedial poetry platform Ánima Lisa and of the editorial board of Pesapalabra, a journal of poetry and criticism. He is a curator and researcher at the Casa de la Literatura Peruana and a professor of art and design at the Pontificia Universidad Católica in Peru. One of his recent publications is a study of J.E. Eielson’s non-object art.

Rodrigo Vera interrogates Edielson’s notion of “three-dimensional literature,” which disrupts the natural flow of discourse and the linearity of the literary account by means of repetitions and discordant combinations. Vera argues that Eielson’s poetry bears marks of the tautological logics of conceptual art and minimalism, and that its poetic knotting-unknotting dynamic is linked to both unstable identities and action conceived as document or trace.

“Paper and fabric run throughout Eielson’s performances. In them, the support is not only broken, burned, or buried, but also affirmed as document, as trace that captures an ephemeral experience.”

Khipu Wari

Gold thread, twisted and knotted
7 x 26,5 cm.
Radicati de Quipus Collection. Fundación Temple Radicati-UNMSM.

Twisted and knotted. 43 x 79 cm.
Radicati de Quipus Collection. Fundación Temple Radicati-UNMSM.

Reino primero [First Kingdom]
Poem from the "Reinos" [Kingdoms] series
Lima, 1944

Sobre los puros valles, eléctricos sotos,
Tras las ciudades que un ángel diluye
En el cielo, cargado de heces sombrías y santas,
El joven oscuro defiende a la joven.
Contemplan allí el verde, arcaico Señor
De los cedros, reinar furtivo en sus telas,
Guiar la nube esmeralda y sonora del mar
Por el bosque, o besar los abetos de Dios,
Orinados por los ángeles, la luna y las estrellas:
Manzanas de amor en la yedra de muerte
Ve el joven, solemnes y áureos cubiertos
En la fronda maldita, que un ciervo de vidrio estremece.
La joven, que nada es ya en polvo sombrío,
Sino un cielo puro y lejano, recuerda su tumba,
Llueve e irrumpe en los brazos del joven
En un rayo muy suave de santa o paloma

Cuerpo secreto [Secret Body]
Poem from the "Noche oscura del cuerpo" [Body’s Dark Night] series
Rome, 1955

Levanto una mano
A la altura del ombligo y con la otra
Sostengo el hilo ciego que me lleva
Hacia mí mismo. Penetro en corredores tiernos
Me estrello contra bilis nervios excrementos
Humores negros ante puertas escarlata
Caigo me levanto vuelvo a caer
Me levanto y caigo nuevamente
Ante un muro de latidos
Todo está lleno de luces el laberinto
Es una construcción de carne y hueso
Un animal amurallado bajo el cielo
En cuyo vientre duerme una muchacha
Con una flecha de oro
En el ombligo

Cuerpo melancólico [Melancholy Body]
Poem from the "Noche oscura del cuerpo" [Body’s Dark Night] series
Rome, 1955

Si el corazón se nubla el corazón
La amapola de carne que adormece
Nuestra vida el brillo del dolor arroja
El cerebro en la sombra y riñones
Hígado intestinos y hasta los mismos labios
La nariz y las orejas se oscurecen
Los pies se vuelven esclavos
De las manos y los ojos se humedecen
El cuerpo entero padece
De una antigua enfermedad violeta
Cuyo nombre es melancolía y cuyo emblema
Es una silla vacía

Letters from Jorge Eielson
to Javier Sologuren

Paris, April 1972
Gardali, July 1973
Private collection

De Papel [Of Paper]

From Ricardo Silva Santiesteban (ed): Poesía escrita [Written Poetry]
Lima: Instituto Nacional de Cultura, 1976

Esculturas subterráneas [Underground Sculptures]

Rue Soufflot, Paris, 1968.
Courtesy of the Centro Studi Jorge Eielson, Florence

Nado [Swim]

Photographic documentation of performance, 1969
Courtesy of the Centro Studi Jorge Eielson, Florence

Michele Mulas making knots

Sardinia, circa 1972
Courtesy of the Centro Studi Jorge Eielson, Florence

Nudos exentos [Free-Standing Knots]

Produced from 1973 to 2000

Sets of quipus

Conjuntos de quipus

Sets of quipus

Alfabeto [Alphabet]

Eielson working on Alfabeto [Alphabet]
Milan, 1973. Courtesy of the Centro Studi Jorge Eielson, Florence

The Mulas family by the sea in Sardinia
Black-and-white photograph

The pyramid shape is a constant in Eielson’s art. The pyramids are actually constructions and compositions derived from the tensions generated by interactions with his quipus. In these interactions, the quipus take on a unique character, sometimes tied to poetic actions like burial and, later, to more orchestrated public performances. The Pirámide de la familia Mulas [Mulas Family Pyramid] or La familia Mulas junto al mar [Mulas Family by the Sea], Sardinia, 1965-1970, one of Eielson’s first poetic burials, was produced in the mid-sixties. As the artist explains, “The rag pyramid is to the Mulas family what the Cheopos Pyramid is to the Pharaoh. A simple object that defies time, an object whose temporality is related to its content. The mother’s black garments and the children’s colorful bathing suits are used in this pyramid’s construction; its materials include Mediterranean sea salt, sand, and light. A genuine bundle of sun, it was made and left on the beach, at the very spot where the Mulas family was in summer of 1965.”

Paracas Pyramid
Düsseldorf, 1974.

The performance Paracas-Pyramid was presented at different times and in different places throughout the nineteen-seventies. The first version was performed at Studio Maddalena Carioni in 1972; it was documented by photographers Alberto and Gianni Buscaglia, who also photographed El Cuerpo de Giulia-no (247 metros de algodón crudo) [The Body of Giulia-no (247 Meters of Raw Cotton)] at the 36th Venice Biennale held that same year. In 1974, Eielson presented variations on this performance at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf pursuant to an invitation from Fritz Schwegler; in 1977, at the Adler Castillo gallery in Caracas; and at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City in 1979. The action consisted of a female figure covered in blue fabric performing movements that imitated geometric shapes, though always returning to the figure of the pyramid. Her wavy movements made reference to the winds, known as paracas, over the desert-like Peruvian coast. The performance had a sound component that began with the voice of the artist reciting the sound composition Colores [Colors] and setting a beat that would later dissipate into different percussions. As the artist himself put it, “The sheet that covers the lovers gives off signs of the purest primordial pleasure, but also of the pain of gestation, the inevitable animal mechanics that brings us life and in turn delivers us to death. The lovers’ sheet is at once shame at procreation and death shroud.”

Düsseldorf, 1974.

Sin título [Untitled]
Mixed media
Dimensions variable
Rafael Hastings Collection, Lima

Camisa [Shirt]
Mixed media on canvas
97 x 89 cm
Museo de Arte de Lima
Contemporary Art Acquisitions Committee, 2014

Quipus 33 T1
Eduardo F. Costantini Collection
At Malba on loan

Sleeping is a masterpiece, Lima, 1978. Courtesy of the Centro Studi Jorge Eielson, Florence

Primera muerte de María [María’s First Death]

Lima, 1988.

[:es]Primera muerte de María es el título de una acción performativa presentada por Eielson en 1988 en el Centro Cultural de la Municipalidad de Mirafores, en el marco de su individual Paisaje infinito de la costa del Perú. El evento, así definido por el artista, fue el último que realizaría en Perú, y se vincula claramente con dos obras homónimas previas del artista: el poema escrito en 1949 y su segunda novela (1959-1980) que fue publicada en 1988. Al igual que con El cuerpo de Giulia-no, este texto presenta una estructura coreográfica abierta que el artista traslada a una acción orquestada para la sala de exhibición y el espacio exterior que comprende la orilla del mar y la calle. Sin embargo, a diferencia de El cuerpo de Giulia-no, en Primera muerte de María Eielson recurre a una referencia simbólica bíblica (el culto mariano) utilizando la forma de una procesión contemporánea que irrumpe en la esfera pública de la ciudad. El evento consistió en el desplazamiento del personaje femenino en un coche descapotado –cubierto de una extensa tela azul– en una procesión con claros guiños a aspectos de la realidad social limeña de aquellos años marcados por la pobreza y la violencia social.[:en]Primera muerte de María [María’s First Death] is the title of a performance presented by Eielson in 1988 at the Centro Cultural de la Municipalidad in Miraflores in the framework of his solo show Paisaje infinito de la costa del Perú. The “event,” as the artist called it, was the last one he would ever produce in Peru, and it was clearly tied to two earlier works of the same name: a poem he had written in 1949 and his second novel (1959–1980), published in 1988. As with El cuerpo de Giulia-no [The Body of Giulia-no], this text has an open choreographic structure that the artist then renders as an orchestrated action for exhibition gallery and outdoor space (the seacoast and the street). In Primera muerte de María, unlike in El cuerpo de Giulia-no, though, Eielson makes a symbolic biblical reference to Mariology in the form of a contemporary procession that bursts onto the city’s public space. For the event, a female character covered with a piece of blue fabric was driven in a convertible car in a procession that made clear reference to life in Lima in years marked by dire poverty and social violence.[:]

Interrupción [Interruption]
Performance by the Pacific Ocean
Lima, 1988
Courtesy of the Centro Studi Jorge Eielson, Florence

La Scala infinita

Galleria Lorenzelli, Milan, 1998
Courtesy of the Centro Studi Jorge Eielson, Florence