Buried, Not Dead

Julia Barbosa-Landois

Exhibition: Sep 12 – Dec 9, 2013

Can you tell us a bit about the narrative?

Someone told me the story about 5 years ago and I knew that I wanted to use it for something. It’s the true story of someone becoming interested in ants while writing his dissertation in the middle of winter in Chicago. It’s a very lonely process—sitting alone at a computer, in the cold, dark winter, with an ant farm. All of the ants die except for one. It becomes a micro-drama that makes one think about the human condition, life and death, and what it all means. It’s also about profundity in small moments, if we just allow ourselves to slow down and witness them.

How do the columns of legs connect with the story?

I think about the legs coming from the earth and sort of flying, making a stream into the sky—into infinity or nothingness. The sheer number of legs makes me think about the passing of generations and the connection between who comes before you, and who comes after you. The legs start at the bottom in neutral, flesh-like colors and then turn into bright colors with floral foil. The foil brings back childhood memories in San Antonio from the old cemeteries on the west and south sides. The embossed foil is used to cover the flower pots that are placed on gravesites and makes me think about life, death, and ritual. It’s a passing of something earthly to something more beautiful, even mythical.

Performance is often a part of your practice, how does it fit into this exhibition?

In addition to a sculptural installation, I think of this space as a theatrical set for the performance. I like the materials for that reason too because you get a sense of an artifice instead of it looking incredibly realistic. The audio recording is my voice narrating the story and guitarist Erik Sanden playing an electric soundscape that is a musical progression through the narrative.


Julia Barbosa-Landois

San Antonio, Texas, USA

Julia Barbosa Landois is a San Antonio-based installation, performance, and video artist. She received her MFA in Sculpture/New Media from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007, and a BFA from the University of Texas San Antonio in 2003.
Her work has been shown internationally, including in such recent exhibitions as the Texas Biennial (2013); The more you honor Me, the more will I bless you, Box 13, Houston (2012); Culo de Oro/The Golden Ass, Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum, San Antonio (2011); New Media, Sex, and Culture in the 21st Century, Detroit Museum of New Art (2010); Border Art Biennial, El Paso Museum of Art (2010); and Julia Barbosa Landois/Shingo Yoshida, Galleri Babel, Trondheim, Norway (2009).

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