TJ Boulting is delighted to present BLOOM, the second solo show by Brazilian/American sculptor Juliana Cerqueira Leite with the gallery. The exhibition includes new sculpture, photo-collage and video, all of which explore the steady stream of recent online news that focuses on humanitarian crises. These works examine the –often exasperated– gesticulations of individual subjects interviewed by the news as representatives of a certain crisis: a refugee, a soldier, a doctor or aid worker. Gesticulations by politicians and reporters, as they attempt to explain complex issues to news viewers, are also explored in these works. Leite aims to create a permanent register of these bodily means of extending language and the ephemeral articulations that shape and are shaped by the geopolitical landscape.
Leite’s sculptural and photographic work is an investigation into agency, performed through the human body’s relationship to matter and occupation of space. For this exhibition Leite produced hundreds of online-news screenshots, which were then used to produce a new video and photo-collages, and an index of gesticulations. To produce the sculptures for this exhibition Leite re-performed gesticulations from this index, moving her hands and arms within a clay-filled box.
The clay-filled mold/box is a recurring tool in Leite’s practice. It is described by the artist as being “like a dense camera: the box is filled with wet clay, this is then imprinted with movements forming a negative space that is then ‘processed’ into sculptures. The sculptures are then excavated from the box, which is re-loaded with the same clay so it can be re-imprinted and the process repeated. The sculptures are cast by pouring pigmented layers of hard, gypsum-based resin into the clay, filling the negative spaces made by the artist’s gesticulating arms and hands. The colour variations used in these casts create bands reminiscent of geological strata – suggesting a temporal scale beyond the individual human. The gesticulation casts will be then composed together as a ‘bouquet’ of exasperated human articulation, fused into colorful explosions of gesture that are joined at their central core (the place where a body would have been as it enacted these gestures). Reminiscent of the large floral bouquet paintings of Flemmish art, hence BLOOM, these are also the product of globalization. The title of each sculpture is a short paragraph collaged from the statements that were originally emphasized by the individuals making these gesticulations.
The new photo-collages and video are both composed of screenshots from these same news sources i.e. Al Jazeera, Reuters, AP, Vice, BBC. These works isolate and capture the gesticulations of interview subjects while exploring the codified visual formats and time-frames employed by online news outlets for reporting on humanitarian crises.
Juliana Cerqueira Leite (b.1981) is recipient of the 2016 Furla Art Prize for her contribution to the 5th Moscow Young Art Biennale. She graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art as recipient of the Kenneth Armitage Sculpture Prize in 2006. Her work has been exhibited internationally in recent solo shows at Alma Zevi Gallery in Venice, Casa Triângulo in São Paulo, Regina Rex New York, the Cass Sculpture Foundation, and in group shows including the 1st Antarctic Biennale, Newspeak at the Saatchi Gallery, the Vancouver Biennale, Marres House for Contemporary Culture in Maastricht and Lustwarande in Tilburg, Netherlands. She will be on residency in Brazil at Espaço Pivô in São Paulo and in Belém, Pará during spring 2018.