Juliana Cerqueira Leite
8 March - 2 May 2021
online with Vortic VR
TJ Boulting is pleased to present TIDE, a virtual exhibition in collaboration with the XR platform Vortic, by Brazilian/American artist Juliana Cerqueira Leite and Mexican artist Laureana Toledo. It forms part of Vortic's Female Voices of Latin América, which celebrates the work of over 150 living female artists, presented by more than 60 international galleries and institutions. The presentation is the largest ever of Latin American female artists, a group who have been traditionally underrepresented in the international art world, and was launched to coincide with International Women's Day.
Laureana Toledo’s works are taken from her series ‘Orden y Progresso’. Order and Progress addresses the problematic notion of progress and its colonial consequences with respect to a failed modernity. Drawing from Toledo’s research on the link between Mexico and Great Britain, the project examines historical events to question the development and the political, social, and cultural context shared by these countries. Focusing on the contact between the English civil engineer and contractor Weetman Pearson and Mexico’s ex-president Porfirio Díaz, Toledo delves into the construction of the Ferrocarril Transístmico (Trans-Isthmic Railroad), which was designed to commercially connect the port of Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, on the Pacific Ocean, with the port of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico, so as to make the country a direct competitor in the transport and exportation of resources to the Panama Canal. Using documentary information found in London’s Science Museum, Toledo constructs a narrative that confronts that modern colonial projection and its exploitation of natural resources, contrasting it with present-day reality on the Mexican isthmus, where the artist spent her early childhood.
Through videos, live music, a cloth map, photographs, and a newspaper with texts on colonialism and migration, the artist re-signifies the region’s reality and shows the failure of the idea of progress. For ‘Tide’ we see black and white photographs representing the geographical locations and cultural landmarks in Mexico - the vulture, migrants on a train, and their discarded plastic bags caught in a bush. There are also images of birds in the sky with the emulsion layer of the photograph removed, to indicate the movement of people removed in patterns.
Juliana Cerqueira Leite presents photographs and drawings that relate to her ongoing preoccupations with the action of the body in space and material. In ‘Concentric’ she creates cut collage of her black and white photographs of her body in various states of curling and contraction, referring to the work of revolutionary choreographer Martha Graham. The second series ‘Multiply’ sees multiple exposures of the artist in her studio against a blue backdrop, of up to twenty exposures, her body morphed into a cloud of motion where consistency defines a new form. They do not seek to reveal reality, as in the studies of Muybridge or the translations of Duchamp, but instead explore the formal possibilities the body’s movement can describe whilst removing itself from the recognisable. Lastly two new drawings made especially for the Vortic exhibition echo her recognition of repetitive daily movements in her studio - washing, painting, stirring, cutting.