EDJI GALLERY is proud to announce its first solo exhibition with artist STUDIO LENCA (José Campos), launching on May 16, 2023, in Brussels. Entitled “Cutting Through“, this three-part exhibition will present the artist’s newest bodies of works in which he seeks to represent, through different mediums, the power of art in overcoming social, political, and personal barriers.
Studio Lenca’s language is figuration: the exhibition starts with a series of paintings depicting folkloric dancers – the infamous ‘Los Historiantes’ – proudly wearing traditional uniforms of El Salvador. Pulled from the artist’s cultural heritage, these subjects represent his quest for identity and representation; “I have never walked into a museum and seen myself on the walls”. By celebrating his roots, the resulting depictions reveal Lenca’s ability to cut through the boundaries of his past life as an undocumented Latino.
Central to the exhibition, we are then compelled to look down at the floor, where hundreds of red carnations are placed inside emptied beer bottles in an installation entitled ‘The men sat in the living room. The women sat in the kitchen. I arranged flowers.’. Occupying the entirety of the space, the omnipresence of the flowers is a symbol of Lenca’s own identity and the personal obstacles he faced as a queer individual growing up in a traditional family setting. This work acts as a metaphor for cutting through the stereotypes within a space that felt desolate.
The exhibition ends with a video projection, on the lower ground floor of the gallery, documenting the undocumented life of a Salvadorian newcomer in Brussels, mirroring Lenca’s own journey. Fittingly concluding the exhibition, the work raises awareness on the undeniable reality that the message he conveys through his practice is still very much relevant today.
In the title of this exhibition, Studio Lenca speaks directly to his younger self, showing him how he will break free from barriers. It is an ode to art and creative activism. Viewers are presented with works that amplify the history and culture of the artist’s native El Salvador while challenging their perception on social issues that surround difference, knowledge, and visibility.
“Cutting Through is about art as a force that transgresses boundaries, social, political and personal.” – Jose Campos, April 2023.