The Performance Art of Carlos Martiel: The Political Body and Social Change

Keywords: performance, protest, artistic activism, transformation, black nakedness


In the current dehumanized and tragic realities shaping our society, many turn to art to use the felt anger, sadness or pain to create something which may help themselves, others, and the world. Performance artist Carlos Martiel is one of those who first started making art to help himself, then, with his raw and impactful works, he inevitably began to help others. This essay investigates Martiel’s work, focusing on the central role of the body as a catalyst for change in the context of performance art. By demonstrating how his artistic practice resembles nonviolent protests, the view of performance art as artistic activism is suggested, acknowledging how their effect, affect, and Æffect, is resonant.


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Author Biography

Maria Elena Ricci, Ricercatrice indipendente

Maria Elena Ricci is a performer, dance teacher, writer and researcher based in Rome, Italy. She graduated in Dance with a Minor in Cultural Studies from Columbia College Chicago (Chicago, USA) and earned a Masters in Dance Practice and Performance from University of Roehampton (London, United Kingdom). She currently writes dance reviews and interviews with artists for Sipario il Mensile dello Spettacolo, and for dance art journal. In 2022 she presented her research Project Tool: Rehearsing the Revolution at the annual conference of the Dance Studies Association (DSA). In addition to writing, she is involved in many dance school and associations teaching dance and she is a performer in the dance-theatre collective Colletivo Libera Mente, directed by Paola Campagna.

How to Cite
Ricci, M. E. (2023). The Performance Art of Carlos Martiel: The Political Body and Social Change. Mimesis Journal, 12(2), 159-173.