Adrián Balseca (Quito, Ecuador, 1989. Lives and works in Quito) will present the video Project for a Portrait (The Origin of Introduced Species), 2016. The work results from a collaboration between the artist and Segundo Teodoro Ruiz, a craftsman originally from the province of Azuay in Ecuador who moved to the Galápagos Islands more than two decades ago. Balseca commissioned the artisan a self-portrait and filmed the entire process from the felling of a Cedrela Odorata tree, an introduced wood species, to the carving of the trunk into a colossal head. The project investigates the human presence in the Ecuadorian archipelago and its relation to introduced species, revealing an existing anachronism in the scientific categories of endemic and introduced still in use today. This work was commissioned by the Latin America Roaming Art 2016 edition during a residency of the artist in Santa Cruz and Isabela Islands earlier in that year. Together with the video, the show features a hptographic work and a sketch related to the project.
Sabrina Belouaar (Chareton le Pont, France, 1986. Lives and works in Paris) will present three monochromes from the series Untitled (2015), and the video Malaxe (2013). At a first glance appearing as uniform dark surfaces, once closer the canvases disclose their richness of matter, smell, texture, depth and dense consistency given by the application of different layers of henna. Traditionally used in North Africa to dye hair and decorate women’s skin, in Muslim culture henna is still deeply connected to female body and related to religious rituals, in particular it is used by young women to decorate their skin before their marriage. Once henna is dried, the crack networks that appear on the canvas’ surface evoke the skin and emphasise the contrast between the rigidity of the squared painting and the temporary nature and vitality of the organic matter that is constantly changing. A similar tension is at the core of Malaxe in which the hands of the artist try to give shape to a material that avoid any kind of fixed form that, in Belouaar’s metaphorical language, become a reflection on the slippery definition of identity.