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Maia del Estal (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1993) is a painter, poet, performance artist and Ikebana practitioner based in Brooklyn.

Through her work Maia interplays explicit display of her own body with candid access to her emotional experience, lyrical inner voice, and visionary imagination.

In a frail but empowering act of unrestricted giving, she dares to make herself exposed through a relational process in response to the gaze of the viewer.

Driven by unbounded instinct and outstanding sensibility, Maia manages to capture the audience into a can’t-look-away draw and, simultaneously, into inescapable critical thinking on gender stereotypes, social cruelty, toxic relationships, abuse of power, among others.

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“I attend to ironize monstrosity so I don't become a victim of it.” 

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As Maia moves to NYC, she begins a series of writings 'disorders of being next to you', which as fragments she incorporates into her performance and video work. She refers to this time as a changing process of reality’s perception, as an opening for self-observation to gain conscience of fears, frustrations, and one’s deepest wounds.

 

“At the end we’re all creatures in a fucked-up ocean. I drink the water you touch.. We’re all echoes, reflections of you, of me. My trauma is your trauma, my pain is your pain.”

 

“New York challenges you to beat your own demons, it’s almost like leaving you there naked, alone, vulnerable, to see how strong you are, how you deal with your darkness, how you deal with your power.”

At the same time, she also starts developing a series of paintings often created during intense, if not trancelike, states of artistic gesture. Zoomorphic 'creatures' of minimal color palettes inhabit the empty spaces of her composition, laying bare affective needs and dependencies, showing human decadence with humor and satirical irony. 

In a way that closes a cycle that takes the artist—alongside her audience—through a rollercoaster of contrasting feelings, all the way to the edge of emotional soundness, Maia Del Estal incorporates into her practice ceremonial ikebana (the Japanese art of flower arrangement) as a complementary ritual for trauma processing and self-healing.

The outcome of the Maia experience is a complex mixture of transcendent and all-consuming sensations between the ecstatic and the beastly, desire and pudor, pleasure and drama that ultimately positions her work as an ode to the intensity and the transience of the human condition at the end of times. 

Matteo Norzi 

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