Photo Documentation from 5am Performance

Año Nuevo (2023)

By artist Fabrizzio Subia

February 24th, 2023 – May 7th, 2023

Opening Reception: Friday, February 24th, 2023 6:00pm – 8:00pm Free

“How do we perform grief? 

On the last day of the year, the Ecuadorian New Year celebration sees its citizens erecting bonfires to collectively burn effigies made of discarded clothes, wood shavings, and paper maché. Año Viejos symbolize a year-end destroyed, and on their ashes to begin a new day. The exact history of the Año Viejos has been lost to time and colonization. What remains of our culture is an embodied knowledge, a series of rituals that persist without written history. 

In the spring of 2020, hospitals in the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador, became overcrowded due to the then-emerging Covid-19 pandemic. With no room in the hospitals, the government took on emergency action and began to burn the bodies of the dead on the streets.

I return to Ecuador every New Year for the celebrations. On January 3rd, 2023, I performed this grief ritual under the context of memory. 

The videos on view in this exhibition are documentation of the endurance performance that took place in the coastal town of Playas, Ecuador. The performance, named Año Nuevo (2023), saw me return to my ancestral lands. There, I burned one Año Viejo every hour for 24 consecutive hours. Through this act which recalled my childhood, I embody the memories of those left behind, the land I left and continue to grieve, the labor of grief, and the passage of time.

This performance is dedicated to my brother, who was among the millions who passed in 2020.”

– Artist Fabrizzio Subia

About the Artist: Fabrizzio Subia is a Chicago-based performance artist and poet from Guayaquil, Ecuador. His work has been exhibited throughout Chicago, including at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Art Department, 6018 North Gallery, P.O. Box Collective, The Story Collider, The Green Mill, and more. He received his BFA in Performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2020. Currently, he acts as Assistant Manager of Exhibitions and Development at the International Museum of Surgical Science.

Follow on Instagram: @fabrizzio.subia

About the Contemporary Arts Program: The International Museum of Surgical Science supports a commitment to contemporary art and artists through exhibitions and programs that use the frame of contemporary artistic practice to examine new perspectives in medical-surgical science and our relationship to the body. The Museum’s Contemporary Arts Initiative includes rotating exhibitions of contemporary art, as well as an ongoing Artist in Residence program.

This project is partially supported by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.

The International Museum of Surgical Science acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.