“Watanabe’s work is capable of making the unspeakable present and not by pronouncing it but by making its impact felt. An aesthetically pleasing image, or a silence, can be loaded with a calamity that could strike at any moment, while abstraction hides monsters in its grey zone. The tension that Watanabe captures with mastery, namely the ongoing process of slow imprints of violence that changes the everyday until it is no longer recognizable, is characteristic of the internal conflict in her home country, Peru, that often informs her work, and the gaps in the emotional landscapes of the people affected by it.” (Text by Heidi Ballet).
Maya Watanabe was born in Lima, Peru, in 1983. She is a visual artist who works with video installations. Her work has been exhibited worldwide at a.o. Kyoto Art Center, Kyoto (2021, 2017 JP); De Pont museum, Tilburg (2021, NL); Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah (2021, AE); MOT – Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo (2021, JP); Galerie Stadt Sindelfingen, Sindelfingen (2020, DE); Tallinn Art Hall, Tallinn (2020, EE); Foam, Amsterdam (2020, NL); Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima (2019, PE); Maxxi Museum, Rome (2019, IT); Rose Art Museum, Massachusetts (2019, US); La Casa Encendida, Madrid (2019, ES); Bradwolff Projects, Amsterdam (2018, NL); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2018, FR); El Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos, Santiago de Chile (2016, CL); Matadero, Madrid (2014, ES). She has been featured in festivals like Videobrasil and the Rencontres Internationales, as well as in the Havana Biennial, Asian Art Biennial, 2nd Wuzhen Contemporary Art Exhibition, Bienal de Arte Contemporânea de Coimbra and the Beijing Biennial. She has also collaborated as a set designer and audiovisual art director for theatre plays performed in Peru, Spain, Austria and Italy. In 2018 she received the Han Nefkens Foundation prize. Watanabe is currently based in Amsterdam (NL).