María Magdalena Campos-Pons

Opening – 26 APR 2024, 6-9 pm

Born in Matanzas province, Cuba, the renowned interdisciplinary artist María Magdalena Campos-Pons works with performance, painting, photography, video, music, and sculpture. Campos-Pons explores themes of identity, race, gender, diaspora, and spirituality in her work, impulsed by her transcultural Nigerian, Chinese, and Spanish heritage.

María Magdalena Campos-Pons:
Cousin María, Feast for Ogún (Portrait #4), 2023,
three panels, each 343 x 84 cm,
watercolor, ink, gouache, gum arabic on Rives BFK archival paper

Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Barbara Thumm.

With an artistic career spanning over four decades, María Magdalena Campos-Pons returns to Berlin with her second solo exhibition at Galerie Barbara Thumm, featuring two new paintings, video pieces, and an installation with porcelain vessels. The exhibition offers insight into the construction and expression of the artist’s concept of identity, interconnecting multiple religious, spiritual, and geographical factors. In her repertoire, Campos-Pons draws from her personal experience to narrate the process of identity construction, from her own exile moving from Cuba to the United States, as well as her ancestors’, who arrived to the island from Africa and China. Her oeuvre interweaves personal experiences that tackle universal and collective ones at the same time, addressing historical themes such as the African and Chinese diaspora in the Caribbean.

María Magdalena Campos-Pons:
Untitled (Portrait #5), 2023,
253 x 255 cm, watercolor, ink, gouache, gum arabic on Rives BFK archival paper

Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Barbara Thumm.

“Of merging ideas, merging of ethnicities, merging of traditions… I am as much black, Cuban, woman, Chinese. I am this tapestry of all of that, and the responses to that could be very complicated and could include even anguish and pain.”

– María Magdalena Campos-Pons

In: Luis, William: “Art and Diaspora: A Conversation with María Magdalena Campos-Pons”. Afro-Hispanic Review, vol. 30/2, p. 155–166.

The exhibition offers a glimpse into some of the works of this multifaceted artist, a selection of pieces made years apart that continue to respond to Campos-Pons’ ever-lasting and ever-changing quest to explore her identity. Her works lead us to question absolute truths about who we are and how we define ourselves. More importantly, the exhibition extends an invitation to consider identity as a process that is built every day, a matter of the present rather than a static one anchored in the past.