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    Hellen Ascoli

    4 FEB - 25 JUN, 2023

    Opening: Saturday, February 4 from 5pm (CST)

    La Nueva Fábrica is thrilled to announce the opening of Hellen Ascoli: Cien tierras, a  solo exhibition by Guatemalan artist Hellen Ascoli curated by Amara Antilla, Senior Curator at Large of the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, USA.

    Following its debut in Cincinnati in 2021, the exhibition is complemented by new works developed by the artist during her residency at La Nueva Fábrica in 2022. 

    Hellen Ascoli’s multidisciplinary approach to art making derives from an active engagement with weaving, movement, listening, and writing, which she applies to an exploration of the political relationship between body, object, and environment. Working primarily with the backstrap loom—a tool that attaches to the body of its user and to the space in which they are working—Ascoli generates ideas and experiences that are rooted in place, and which are therefore contextual and relational. 

    Ascoli presents several new works including a large-scale textile installation, a site-responsive kinetic wall sculpture, text-based weavings, videos displayed in custom-built furniture, photographs, and sound works. These are exhibited alongside salvaged and constructed objects—a mattress, brick molds, combs—that reference ideas of the body, memory, and home. Many of the works investigate translation—literal and metaphorical—as an entry point for destabilizing Western-centric modes of understanding and communicating. They demonstrate Ascoli’s interest in reflecting on personal and collective experiences of trauma, and on the potential for change embodied in ordinary actions.

    The exhibition’s title, Cien tierras, which is shared by two bodies of work included therein, translates as “one hundred earths.” Here, “cien tierras” evokes the artist’s diasporic history and the multiplicities that underpin her practice of weaving while connecting it to other forms of recorded knowledge. Reflecting Ascoli’s collaborative process, the exhibition features contributions by poet and weaver Negma Coy, painter Jorge de León, sound artist and musician Sofia Jade Tanski, artist Luisa González-Reiche, artist Gabriel Rodríguez and object designer Karl Williamson.

    Hellen Ascoli: Cien tierras is curated by Amara Antilla and organized by the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA. Following its debut in Cincinnati in 2021, the exhibition will be on view at La Nueva Fábrica from february 4 – june 25, 2023. 

    Hellen Ascoli (b. 1984, Guatemala City) received her BFA in sculpture from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX (2006); and her MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago (2012). Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions including the Bienal de Artes Visuales del Istmo Centroamericano (2014); Bienal de Arte Paiz, Museo de Correos, Guatemala City (2014, 2018, 2020); My Body is Here, Concepción 41, Antigua, Guatemala (2016); One Stone and the Rain, Lawndale Art Center, Houston; Guatemala from 33,000 km: Contemporary Art, 1960–Present, Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara (both 2017); To Weave Blue: Poema al tejido, University of Memphis; Stone’s Throw: Arte de Sanación, Arte de Resistencia, The Anderson Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA (both 2020); (She Re-Members) Siendo somos, Artspace, San Antonio (2022). Ascoli is the 2023 Pollock-Krasner Foundation artist in residence at the International Studio & Curatorial Program, New York. She lives and works in Baltimore, MD. 

    Amara Antilla is a curator and art historian specializing in International art since 1960. She is currently the Senior Curator at Large at the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) in Cincinnati, where she has organized solo exhibitions and new commissions by artists including Marwa Arsanios, Hellen Ascoli, Tania Candiani, Kahlil Robert Irving, Steffani Jemison, and Nora Turato, among others. Her exhibitions have been shown at venues including the Dhaka Art Summit, ICA San Diego, JOAN, Los Angeles, Kunstraum Kreuzberg, and The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Previously, Antilla was a curator at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, where she supported the acquisition, research, and exhibition program of the MAP Global Art Initiative (2014-2018). She also contributed to several major exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice, and touring venues, such as the Hugo Boss Prize: Simone Leigh, Loophole of Retreat (2019); But A Storm is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa (2017); Monir Farmanfarmaian: Infinite Possibility (2015); and Under the Same Sun: Art from Latin America Today (2014), among others. She is the recipient of the 2022 Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Research Award. Antilla studied art history at Tufts University; the Museum School; and Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY). 

    Image credit

    Achike’ rub’anon ak’u’x (¿Cómo está tu corazón?) (How is your Heart), 2020-21. Hellen Ascoli.

    Photo by Ana Werren.