In "States of Transmutation," Andrea Peña melds sculpture, choreography, and sound into a “universe” that explores the tension of a posthuman epoch from a queer and embodied perspective.
Blurred lines. Alternative definitions. Mixed mediums. In States of Transmutation, Andrea Peña melds sculpture, choreography, and sound into a “universe” that explores the tension of a posthuman epoch from a queer and embodied perspective. Using silicone, aluminum, metal chain, rock, concrete, industrial hardware, and kinetic elements, Peña designs an environment that embraces notions of fluidity by challenging the way society considers the physical dimension of the body.
At once deeply human and starkly industrial, the work imparts visceral sensations that bring viewers into their own bodies, all while questioning the very notion of “the body” itself. The act of questioning is, after all, where Peña’s work lives. A celebrated choreographer and visual artist, Peña is known for her political examination of the places between definitions.
In Peña’s universe, the audience is here to explore the intersection of humans and technology. This is the post-industrial body—complete with posthuman prosthetics, pleasure and pain dialogues, and manifestations that extend beyond gender. But even in her decentering of the human experience, this is not science fiction, nor is it an examination of people becoming machines. Instead, it is a conversation where Peña invites the audience’s eyes, ears, and nervous system to the very core of this complex convergence.
As viewers move through the space, they are met not with individual works of art, but rather several components of a whole work—much like movements comprising a symphony. The seemingly disparate parts of the whole work in harmony—sometimes through dissonance—to create the very questions that Peña asks of herself and of her audience: “how does the individual express itself within this environment that is efficiency-driven and highly industrialized?”
At its core, States of Transmutation is a call and response. A reflection and re-definition. A framing and reframing. For all its sonic and kinetic movement, Peña’s symphony presents opposing restraint and dissonance. It is this tension, these tiny pinpricks in the fabric of what is known, that offers the possibility of something new and unexamined.
Viewers will undoubtedly leave with more questions than they have answers. And that is exactly the point.
A hybrid Latinx artist, Andrea Peña was originally born in Bogota, Colombia, and has carved her practice in the territory of Tiohti:áke, Montreal. As director of the multidisciplinary company AP&A (Andréa Peña & Artists), her practice as designer and choreographer, merges the body and materiality in performative, digital and sculptural works to create living arts universes. Andrea is recognized in Canada and internationally for her creations as critical, alternative and spatial universes that break with our notions and conceptions of a sensitive humanity, and engage in rich encounters between conceptual research and a highly physical and material approach. Working across mediums, her works intersect questions around the role of the sensible body in dialogue with external design environments and situations; utilizing choreographic knowledge beyond performative contexts.
From Canada, Japan, the US, Germany, Italy, France, Mexico, Greece, Spain, India, and others, Peña’s works are recognized for her inter-artistic rigor that manifests spatio-material experiences that challenge hybrid practices. Andrea is recognized with numerous awards and commissions for her conceptual creations, most recently the 2019 Banff Center’s Clifford E. Lee Award given to an emerging Canadian artist in recognition of her highly rigorous creations. This year 2022 Andrea has the honor to open the internationally renowned Tanzmesse; the largest performing arts showcase in Europe.
Andrea’s complex, vulnerable and raw works take her works to national and international recognition, presented by the National Arts Center, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Arsenal Art Contemporain, Usine C, Danse Danse, Agora de la Danse, Tanz Bremen, tanzmesse, Cinars, New Italian Dance Platform, Festival Trajectoires, Theatre Freiburg, Tokyo Performing Arts Meeting, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Canadian Center for Architecture, Attakkalari India Biennial, Milano Festival, Festival Quartiers Danses, Hong Kong International Choreography Festival, Festival International de Danza de la Ciudad de Mexico, Prisma Festival Panama, AADK Spain, IONION Arts Center Greece among others. Andrea’s work has been commissioned by the Phi Center, Laval Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Edmonton, the 375e Anniversary of Montreal, Pro Arte Danse, École de danse contemporaine de Montréal, Transformation, Springboard Program.
Academically she is currently undergoing a Masters in Design at Concordia University, awarded the Dora and Avi Morrow Fellowship for Excellent Achievement in Visual Arts. Andrea also works as curator in the performing arts as part of the curatorial team at Tangente, developing a practice around culturally inclusive and decolonial practices.