For her first major institutional presentation in New York, “SCAR TISSUE (BLURRED EARTH)”, Donna Huanca (b. 1980, Chicago) presents an extraction of primal sensory signals that proliferate in a new landscape full of reflections. Abounding in sensory information, Huanca’s work interrupts vision and memory and in Huanca’s words: “…aims to leave a small scar on the retina, a lasting impression that remains with the viewer in an otherwise transient world”.
Comprised of a new body of paintings, sculpture, olfactory, and sound works, the immersive site-specific installation is imbued with multiple temporalities. Huanca’s paintings are derived from her durational performances. Using past performance documentation as the foundation for her subsequent exhibitions and works, Huanca captures ephemeral moments to construct an ongoing narrative within her larger body of work.
Although otherworldly and surreal in appearance, Huanca’s vibrant color palette and materials used in the installation are drawn from nature and are incorporated into a new topography. This play with our senses and preconceptions is further carried out in Huanca’s layering of textures and surfaces, disrupting our perception of image, medium, and body.
With the exhibition’s title, Huanca melds the body and the landscape in a linked process of change. Just as an earthquake leaves a lasting rupture, scars are renderings of history, maps of encounters. Like memories inscribed in flesh, scars connect us to specific spaces and times.
"My work is a reaction to our present moment—a time of fierce acceleration and disembodiment, of fleeting memory and distorted consciousness. The goal of my work is to scar the viewer’s memory, to bring them back to the present moment by triggering their senses with a textural language."
SCAR TISSUE (BLURRED EARTH) is activated by a series of live performances throughout the exhibition period, each one unique and specially commissioned for the occasion. The exhibition is transformed into a non-static, living environment, as performers adorned in Huanca’s textural language populate and leave their traces onto the installation, reflecting an evolutionary mark-making that is constitutive of Huanca’s densely layered work.
Huanca’s performances are unique as they are centered around the performer’s autonomy. There is no fixed choreography, instead Huanca uses her work to give cues to performers, encouraging them to meditate and camouflage themselves within the work intuitively.
Upcoming performance on Saturday 10 February, 2024. Spring dates to be announced.
I am interested in flattening traditional notions of space and time, as well as dismantling the hierarchy between artist, performer, viewer, and institution; in doing so, I see the potential to formulate new proposals for navigating the uncharted territory in which we currently find ourselves, both socially and technologically. I use sound, scent, tactile and visual cues to create monumental installations wherein the viewer is invited to connect with their own body, as well as with the visitors and performers who share the same experience.
Bourgeois + Greenberg + Ono
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