The work of Mexican artist Berenice Olmedo rises from the question of what counts as ‘normal’. And beyond that, who decides on norms and their opposites. For many years now, those who were marginalized by a society deeply influence her work, whether stray dogs or physically impaired humans. In fact, Olmedo argues for a re-thinking of what defines the human in her theoretical writing. So that those who do not match the white, Western, masculine or able-bodied norm felt finally and fully included.
Her work, in a way, hints at the contradiction between nature and technology. For instance, if we think of nature in a sense of an ecological balance then a healthy body exists in nature. Although, when we speak of an ideal body, achieved in many cases through correction, the conflict appears. If one constantly focuses on wellness or well-being, the desire for a standardized ideal of social beauty becomes an addiction. Berenice Olmedo thus questions the models of thought and categorization in our society, which always depend on social class and income.
More than that, Olmedo critically addresses the difficult issue of how the object and body take the same place within our society. So whenever we perceive the body as an object, at the same time we imply it has very few rights. In all of this, the fading of borders becomes the most interesting part. Technical objects, transformed into objects and devices, become fragile bodies in Olmedo’s work. Unlike ‘finished’ objects, her sculptures and installations range from language to politics, to medicine, and law.
In her work, she merges flesh and technology showing a body destined to be bound by devices. Berenice Olmedo on purpose goes against the grain of our smooth, easy-flowing, ever-increasing digital age. Her work acts as an opposition to cloud computing, non-material information flows, and slick HD interfaces. The artist rejects the championing of mindless and body-less efficiency, speed, and flawless perfection.