Ilustraciones de la Mecánica

Artist: Nietas de Nonó Las
miscellaneous | Performance view, 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany, 2018 | 2016

The collaborative duo Las Nietas de Nonó—sisters Lydela and Michel Nonó—draw on their own autobiographical, familial, and community histories in their interdisciplinary work, examining the dynamics of race, class, and colonialism in Puerto Rico. Ilustraciones de la Mecánica takes up the history of medical experimentation and the pharmaceutical industry on the island. One aspect of the work involves the reenactment of clinical trials conducted in the colony, including a program of mass sterilizations performed on poor Black women between the 1930s and 1980s and encouraged by the U.S. government. The work also reflects on the criminalization of Black men by La Mano Dura Contra del Crimen (The Hard Hand against Crime), a Puerto Rican government program of the 1990s, and the demonization of traditional healers as the U.S. pharmaceutical industry became a major player in the Puerto Rican economy. Ultimately Las Nietas are interested in connecting with the people who view their works—many of whom have experienced the very trauma the sisters depict in their performances. (Image courtesy the artists. Photograph by Timo Ohler)


Whitney Biennial 2019 | 2019.05.17 - 2019.09.22 | Whitney Museum of American Art(New York City, NY, United States)