Ballroom Marfa Art Fund
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Visual Art

Espejo Quemada – Donna Huanca

31 Dec 2021


Marfa, Texas


Donna Huanca

Donna Huanca presents a series of new works 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, uses mirrors as formal and metaphorical devices to respond to changing conditions. The title, which translates to “burnt mirror” in English and is purposefully feminized in Spanish, alludes to Huanca’s feminist praxis. “Espejo Quemada” suggests reflections of the current moment, portals to the past and future, and catalysts for combustion and change.

The experiences of time, touch and embodiment must all be reconsidered in the shadow of the pandemic, especially as physical contact and proximity to bodies and objects have been restricted. Artworks too are now mostly encountered digitally. By working with an amalgam of color, texture, sound, and scent to enliven the senses, Huanca creates alternative and elongated temporal spaces for contemplation. Through perceptual transformations, we are reminded that the sentient body is a potent source of knowledge and memories.

Viewers experience powerful phenomenological shifts especially through her new work in Ballroom’s courtyard. The artist displays her first outdoor sculpture, which is made of steel and installed atop an adobe bench covered with light-and temperature-sensitive pigment. The work responds to not only the climate in Marfa but also the bodies that sit and engage with the sculpture.

ESPEJO QUEMADA is curated by Daisy Nam, Ballroom Marfa curator.



Explore the exhibition through this video walk-through, narrated by the artist and Ballroom curator Daisy Nam.

Walkthrough with Roberto Tejada

Roberto Tejada shares insights about the exhibition and Donna Huanca’s use of language, materiality and collage.

Artist Profile


Donna Huanca (b.1980) was born in Chicago and lives and works in Berlin. Her multimedia work engages 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 in 2019; CELL ECHO at the Yuz Museum (Shanghai), and PIEDRA QUEMADA at Belvedere Museum (Vienna) in 2018, and SCAR CYMBALS at Zabludowicz Collection (London) in 2016, amongst others. Huanca was a 2016 Hirshhorn Artist Honoree at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and a 2012 Fulbright Scholar in Mexico City. She received a 2009 DAAD Artist Grant, and a 2004 DeGolyer Grant from the Dallas Museum of Art.

Installation Views