Culo De Oro/The Golden Ass
June 2 – August 6, 2011
Featuring Julia Barbosa Landois; curated by Dayna De Hoyos
My work examines the body, ritual objects in consumer society, unspoken violence, and the quest for literal and metaphorical cleanliness, all with a feminist subtext. I explore these themes through live performance, installation, and video. I work back and forth between the still and moving image to explore the pacing unique to each – providing a moment to linger at one’s wish versus deliberately directing the viewer through time. My performances usually include direct audience engagement. My goal is communion.
Careful selection of materials is very important to my process. I like to use humble materials or found objects that have a deeper cultural significance or evoke a sense of melancholy nostalgia. These objects can be cheap, throw-away, or even bordering on kitsch, but used nevertheless to convey genuine sentiment. I sometimes incorporate mass-produced objects, like a particular soap or religious-themed candy, whose simple appearance betrays a real conceptual weight.
Culo de Oro/The Golden Ass examines sex, masculinity, and the tourist mentality along the Texas/Mexico border. I grew up in South Texas, surrounded by men who visited towns like Nuevo Laredo for prostitutes, bizarre sex shows, exotic game hunting, and recreational drinking. Like Las Vegas or Amsterdam, these towns illustrate how the concept of license can change when one changes environments. These are places you go to deposit a part of yourself that you can’t take home. In this show, I, too, play the part of tourist in the terrain of masculine identity and gendered desire, in a sexual rite of passage with no counterpart for women of the same culture.
This is my first project using documentary material as a starting point. The installation and performance are informed by interviews conducted with friends and brothel patrons, sex tourism website testimonials, regional folklore, and ideas about sex and spirituality from ancient Mexico. Some pieces use direct quotations while others take a subtler tack. Each tells a story of how we are shaped by desire.
Julia Barbosa Landois received her BFA in Painting/Women and Gender Studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2003 and her MFA in Sculpture/New Media from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007. Her work has been shown throughout the United States, as well as in Mexico, Cuba, and Europe. Her awards include an Artpace Travel Grant to Denmark, a Media Arts Grant from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio and artist residencies at the Santa Fe Art Institute and Lademoen Kunstnerverksteder in Norway. Landois currently lives and teaches in her native city of San Antonio, Texas.
Exhibition venues include: Vox Populi Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; El Paso Museum of Art; Centro Cultural Paseo del Norte, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico; Detroit Museum of New Art; Galleri Babel, Trondheim, Norway; Mexic-Arte Museum, Austin, TX; UTSA Satellite Space, San Antonio, TX; Centro de Desarollo de Artes Visuales, Havana, Cuba; Cactus Bra Space, San Antonio, TX, Centro Estatal de las Artes del Instituto del Cultura de Baja California, Mexicali, Mexico; and Rivoli Teatro Municipal, Porto, Portugal.
Creation of this work was made possible in part by the Residency Program at the Santa Fe Art Institute and an Award from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio, with funding provided by the Cultural Collaborative of the City of San Antonio.