Horde Artist Catalina Renjifo is part of the She Performs: The Body Exhibition at Oxford Brookes University Glass Tank Gallery.
Grasp, 2017, Digital Pigment Print and Ceramic Object Encompassing experimental sculpture, installation, drawing and photography, Catalina Renjifo’s practice is research-based and aims to impart learning. When executing her work, materials are scrutinised in a process that involves dissolving, breaking down and reassembling (a method Catalina calls ‘digestive’) to assimilate both their materiality and cultural meaning. Each artwork asks a question – materials and process together becoming an embodiment of Catalina’s original research enquiry. She says, “In their display, spatial structures and strategies of engagement are tested as embedded pedagogies, how artworks can be a starting point for learning.”
Catalina’s work maintains a dialogue with the scale and experience of the human body, inviting interactions and observing the relationships that invest artefacts with meaning. She is interested in artistic theories of knowledge to stress the cognitive nature of aesthetic experience and widen the perception of how we come to know.
To extract meaning from an object we must engage our senses. Catalina aims to communicate to the viewer’s sense of touch the knowledge she has acquired through handling the material during the making process. She believes that if we look at an object as if we might hold it, the mere possibility of doing so conveys meaning even if we aren’t able or permitted to actually grasp it.
With this piece Catalina deals with coming to terms with audiences arriving at their own interpretation of her work by interacting with it. Although in showing it Catalina allows others the freedom to understand it in their own way, she nonetheless exerts some control by suggesting touch as the sense by which knowledge can be acquired from these objects.