Laura Lima: Six Feet Over: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, Los Angeles

November 6, 2021 - January 22, 2022
Installation Views
Press release

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Tanya Bonakdar Gallery is pleased to present Laura Lima’s second solo exhibition with the gallery and her first in Los Angeles, entitled Six Feet Over, on view from November 6, 2021 through January 22, 2022.

A play on the common phrase “six feet under” the exhibition focuses on living matter, nature, and materials suspended in fluctuation.

On view are three distinct, but related bodies of work that contemplate transitory moments between oscillating states of being. By exploring the threshold between light and dark, matter changing from solid to gas, empty homes waiting for their occupants, and the transformation of drawings into three-dimensional forms, Lima hones in on shifting states, which define the exhibition’s conceptual framework.

Woven communal nests offering habitats for a variety of bird species are interspersed throughout the main space. Deconstructing straw hats and reweaving them together, the artist creates a community for the imagined birds, adorned with perches and ornamental architecture. Awaiting their dwellers, these objects linger in a moment of transition before nature takes hold. A subtle critique of the ideal nuclear family, these nests encourage utopian communities of birds that can participate in multiple family constructions.

Floating amongst the nests are Lima’s continuously changing ‘Leviane’ works, which consist of transparent fabric and dry ice. Engaging with concepts of gravity and density, fragments of dry ice slowly evaporate from the pores of these lightweight fiber constructions. Referencing the history of landscape painting, Lima uses the smoke as a painting tool to blur the color and details of the pieces, creating shadows akin to how one creates painterly atmospheric qualities. Chemically and physically, traditional oil paintings change very slowly over time. Accelerating this concept, Lima’s use of dry ice creates an immediate transition of materials, cycling through existence and dispersion as the ice melts and is repeatedly replenished.

Entering the back gallery, the viewer moves through a threshold from light to dark space. As the senses adjust, dark ‘Leviane’ works come into focus underneath subtle spotlights. In this setting, the smoke evokes a more mysterious and sinister mood, which references the works’ title, a word meaning ‘light’ in Spanish and ‘malicious’ in Portuguese.

Frequently gardened by a gallery attendant, the dry ice is refreshed every few hours during the exhibition. In her practice, Lima often enlists collaborators to carry out physical tasks, activating the space and bringing an unpredictable element into the work. An important early concept of Lima’s practice is her Man=flesh/Woman=flesh body of work, which transcends hierarchies and explores the binary of the living and non-living as humans are considered sculptural matter.

In the front gallery, four works from the artist’s Tailor Shop installation are on view. Constructed during her 2019 exhibition in New York, Lima hired professional tailors to translate drawings she made of friends, family, historical figures, and people who have inspired her. Visitors watched the tailors in their workshop while they transformed the drawings into fabric vestments. An iteration of the Tailor Shop is currently on view at the Hammer Museum, as part of the exhibition Witch Hunt, through January 9, 2022.

Each portrait depicts a deep geometry reflecting the personality of the individual. Hidden details referencing protected secrets and truths are revealed on the back of the works, concealed from the public when they are hanging on the wall.

All of the works in Six Feet Over have the possibility of being observed from all angles. As the viewer walks around the space their perspectives shift, reflecting a consciousness that informs a broader understanding of each elevated sculpture.

Born in 1971, Laura Lima grew up in Brazil’s countryside region of Governador Valadares. While still very young, Lima moved to Rio de Janeiro, where she is currently based. The artist received a BA in Philosophy from the State University of Rio de Janeiro in the 1990s and also studied art the Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage, Rio de Janeiro. In 1999, she founded the Organism RhR (Representative hyphen Representative) and served as its first bureaucratic administrator. As such, Lima created a glossary and an archive of the activities of the group, including ideas such as a philosophy of nothing, the non-functional, emptiness, and failure.

Laura Lima was the 2014 recipient of BACA, Bonnefanten Award for Contemporary Arts, the Netherlands; and in 2006, Lima was awarded the Marcantonio Vilaça Prize. The artist was also nominated for the Francophone Prize in 2011, and Hans Nefkens Prize 2012.

Solo exhibitions of Lima’s work have been presented in venues around the world such as Pinacoteca, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Fondazione Prada in Milan, Italy; Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, Argentina; MUAC, Mexico City, Mexico; Migros Museum fur Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, Switzerland; Casa França Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Fundação Eva Klabin, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden; Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, The Netherlands; SMK-National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Lima’s work is currently included in Witch Hunt, a group exhibition at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. A selection of previous group shows include Sharjah Biennale in 2019; Performa 15, New York in 2015; 24th and 27th São Paulo Biennales; the 2nd and 3rd Mercosul Biennales in Porto Alegre, Brazil; XI Lyon Biennale in 2011; and 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 Rooms in various cities since 2011. In 2014, VERTRIPTICAL, the third film in the Cinema Shadow project, showed live at the Stockholm Film Festival, Sweden. The project was commissioned by Bonniers Konsthall and filmed both in Rio de Janeiro and Stockholm for an 8-hour period during which it was simultaneously filmed and screened in real time.

Laura Lima’s works are included in the collections of Instituto Inhotim, Modern Art Museum of São Paulo, Bonniers Konsthall, Migros Museum fur Gegenwartskunst, Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Zabludowicz Collection, Bonnefantenmuseum, among others.

Laura Lima lives and works in Rio de Janeiro. She is also co-founder and adviser of A Gentil Carioca, along with Ernesto Neto and Marcio Botner, an artist run gallery in Rio de Janeiro.

Works