Donna Huanca presents a series of new work commissioned by Ballroom Marfa in her exhibition ESPEJO QUEMADA. Huanca creates experiential installations that incorporate paintings, sculptures, video, scent and sound. The profound experiences and memories of Huanca’s first visit to Marfa in 2005 inspired the work in the exhibition. The artworks draw on visual, cultural, and mythological cues informed by feminism, decolonialism and the artist’s personal and familial histories, while simultaneously engaging with the biodiversity, geology, and dark skies of Far West Texas. The sky was particularly striking for Huanca–animated with cosmic and extraterrestrial forces while also revealing the natural rhythms of the sun and moon.
ESPEJO QUEMADA, Huanca’s first exhibition since the pandemic, also uses mirrors as formal and metaphorical devices to respond to changing conditions. The title, which translates to “burnt mirror,” alludes to reflections of the current moment; portals to the past and future; and ignitions of combustion and change. Time, touch and embodied experiences are all reconsidered today, especially when viewing artworks, which are now mostly encountered digitally. Huanca further pushes the phenomenological effects in her installations. She works with an amalgam of color, texture, sound, and scent to enliven the senses and create alternative and elongated temporal spaces for contemplation. Shifts in perception are also experienced in Ballroom’s courtyard. The artist displays her first series of outdoor sculptures that use light and temperature sensitive pigment that respond to the climate in Marfa, changing over the course of the exhibition.
ESPEJO QUEMADA is curated by Daisy Nam, Ballroom Marfa curator.
Donna Huanca (b.1980) was born in Chicago, IL and currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Her painting, sculpture, performance, and new media work seeks to engage with the human body and its visceral connection to space and identity. Huanca’s practice pushes audiences to question their understanding of biology, ecology and history through a decolonial lens.
Huanca has exhibited internationally. Solo exhibitions include: OBSIDIAN LADDER at Marciano Art Foundation (Los Angeles) in 2019; LENGUA LLORONA at Copenhagen Contemporary (Copenhagen, Denmark) in 2019; CELL ECHO at the Yuz museum (Shanghai, China), and PIEDRA QUEMADA at Belvedere Museum (Vienna, Austria) in 2018, and SCAR CYMBALS at Zabludowicz Collection (London, UK) in 2016 amongst others. Huanca was a 2016 Hirshhorn Artist Honoree at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington D.C.), and a 2012 Fulbright Scholar in Mexico City, Mexico. She received a 2009 DAAD Artist Grant, and a 2004 DeGolyer Grant from the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas).