Elvira SantamarĂ­a-Torres

Elvira SantamarĂ­a-Torres

Performance art is a time-space-presence- based form of art and an existential practise of self-knowledge. Time, space and presence as a structural trinity of change and transformation; aesthetics and ethics at work. Its poetic postulates the reflexion and creation of identity through gestures, acts, actions and attitude, which is an endless learning process. The symbolic act creates important reference points in the evolution of the consciousness of the artist, but the not symbolic ones are the true dimension of the present. 

My works has evolved through a personal quest by means of several action art forms (chamber performance, urban actions, public interventions, processes, performance-installation, etc). Nowadays I am focus on urban performances, process art and In-situ installations, which are rarely practiced in my origin country.

My main concern, all along my practice, has been to underline the changeable, fragile and ephemeral aspects of life, and point out fundamental aspects of human life, behaviour, ordinary acts, and consciousness-developing through performance art. 

For me, the public context is the place where the creation of new situations can deconstruct what we think about reality, human relationships and ourselves as individuals. Following the ideas of the situationists, “the audience must not exist anymore as audience but as 'les vivants' (the living ones), in their plural and diverse forms” as performance art is.


Elvira Santamaría-Torres was born in 1967 in Mexico City. He studied at the Antigua Esmeralda and made Master's studies in Visual Arts at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland in 2009. In 1992 she participated in the First Month of performance Art at the Museo Universitario del Chopo with the piece Una noche sin dormir (A sleeples night). There she met the artist Richard Martel and the French poet Serge Pay, important influences in her career, as a little later will also be Esther Ferrer and Mónica Mayer. In 1994 she won the First Prize of the 3rd Performance Art Competition of X-Teresa with the piece Donation for an igneous force and that same year she was invited to the International Performance Art Encounter of Quebec. Since then, Santamaría has presented her work in festivals, art centers, galleries, museums and public spaces in Mexico, Europe, North America, Asia and Latin America. Examples: 3rd Performance Festival in Ex Teresa Arte Actual, 1994; solo tour in Germany: Cologne, Dusseldorf, Essen, Dortmund and Bonn, organized by ASA European, 1997; Expo Hanover 2000; tour in Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, Nagano and Nagoya) Nippon International Performance Art Festival (NIPAF), 2002: Labor event, in London, Dublin and Derry/Londonderry 2012 and, most recently, in SACRED: Homelands in London and Festival of Action Art in Cuenca, FAAC, Ecuador in 2016.
From 1997 to 2000, she lived and worked in Dresden, Germany, participating in several events in other European cities. Since 2000 she is a member of the performance art group Black Market International. Upon her return to Mexico, she organized the Mexico-Japan Performance Art Encounter in Mexico City and Mérida. Since then she has organized and curated several events such as the annual International Performance Art Encounter in Yucatán 2002-2006; Actions on Route, Interventions in Mexico City in 2001 and in 2003 together with Víctor Muñoz; InterSER0, International Action Art Encounter at the Carrillo Gil Art Museum 2009. In 2007 produced the series "Urban Actions" in Bogotá, a decisive experience in his way of conceiving artistic action in public context. Santamaría has been a committee member of Bbeyond, a performance art organization in Northern Ireland. In 2013 she was nominated for the First price at the ARTRAKER award, Awarding creativity in art and conflict in London and, subsequently, she was invited to be jury of Artrakers 2014 award. She was a member of the National System of Art Creators, FONCA 2013.
Her work and ideas have been published in several books, catalogs and magazines, as well as in internet sites, of which the following stand out: Inter Magazine, Art Actuel 2011; Ephemeral Action Magazine, Madrid 2011; Art & Agenda, Political Art and Activism, Ed. Gestalten, Berlin 2012; Double Exposures by Manuel Vason, London 2014. Performance in Mexico, Dulce María de Alvarado, Editorial 17 and Action and Performance in the Many Mexicos by Josefina Alcázar 2016 , Ed. Siglo XXI. Santamaría has given workshops and conferences in cultural centres and universities in Mexico and abroad as the performance workshop at the School of  Fine Arts Museum in Boston 2007; Existential Laboratories of Art Action at the University Museum of Contemporary Art of Mexico ( MUAC) 2013, and the  Art Action Forms and Creative Process, Xul Solar Art School, Junín, Argentina in 2016.
Currently, her work focuses on public actions, process art, installation-performance and chamber performance. She currently lives between Northern Ireland and Mexico.

Member of the National System of Art Creators, FONCA 2018