Frieze London 2019
On the occasion of the 2019 edition of Frieze London, Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present a new and immersive installation comprising painting, sculpture, sound and scent by Bolivian-American artist Donna Huanca. The presentation at Frieze combines a number of linked elements of the artist’s practice, to create a holistic, immersive experience for the viewer, who is invited to navigate the booth through dunes of pure white sand. Huanca’s unique aesthetic absorbs a network of references, which centre around the human body and its relationship to space, gender and identity, as well as the cultural, social and linguistic traditions of her Inca-Andean ancestry. Via her interdisciplinary practice – in which performance plays an integral part – Huanca crafts a visual language rooted in collaboration and innovation.
Huanca’s two-dimensional painting practice is fundamentally connected to the performative elements of her work. In six new ‘skin’ paintings, photographs of her performers’ bodies are blown up and transposed to canvas, where they are re-worked with paint. During this process, Huanca engages with the colours and forms painted on her models, resulting in an interaction between the ephemeral choreography of performance art and the permanence of painting. Three new steel sculptures are installed alongside the paintings, which with their totemic proportions and anthropomorphic compositions, act almost as surrogates for Huanca’s performers. The viewer’s total sensorial response to the environment is amplified by a single-channel sound piece and a custom scent inspired by the fragrance of Palo Santo, a holy tree native to South America widely used in ritual purification ceremonies.