“This is my country...any country please, where we can be safe again...I think it was a mine...but only one consequence...lack of attention, bureaucracy...just not quite a hurricane yet...you can see how massive the wall of water was that climbed up and did all of this.” [Pink one], 2017
“This is my country...any country please, where we can be safe again...I think it was a mine...but only one consequence...lack of attention, bureaucracy...just not quite a hurricane yet...you can see how massive the wall of water was that climbed up and did all of this.” [Pink one] 2017 was included in the exhibition BLOOM, 2017, that explored the steady stream of recent online news that focuses on humanitarian crises. These works examine the –often exasperated– gesticulations of individual subjects interviewed by the news as representatives of a certain crisis: a refugee, a soldier, a doctor or aid worker. Gesticulations by politicians and reporters, as they attempt to explain complex issues to news viewers, are also explored in these works. Leite aims to create a permanent register of these bodily means of extending language and the ephemeral articulations that shape and are shaped by the geopolitical landscape.
Leite’s sculptural and photographic work is an investigation into agency, performed through the human body’s relationship to matter and occupation of space. For this exhibition Leite produced hundreds of online-news screenshots, which were then used to produce a new video and photo-collages, and an index of gesticulations. To produce the sculptures for this exhibition Leite re-performed gesticulations from this index, moving her hands and arms within a clay-filled box.
The clay-filled mold/box is a recurring tool in Leite’s practice. It is described by the artist as being “like a dense camera: the box is filled with wet clay, this is then imprinted with movements forming a negative space that is then ‘processed’ into sculptures. The sculptures are then excavated from the box, which is re-loaded with the same clay so it can be re-imprinted and the process repeated.” The sculptures are cast by pouring pigmented layers of hard, gypsum-based resin into the clay, filling the negative spaces made by the artist’s gesticulating arms and hands. The color variations used in these casts create bands reminiscent of geological strata – suggesting a temporal scale beyond the individual human.
The gesticulation casts will be then composed together as a ‘bouquet’ of exasperated human articulation, fused into colorful explosions of gesture that are joined at their central core (the place where a body would have been as it enacted these gestures). Reminiscent of the large floral bouquet paintings of Flemmish art, hence BLOOM, these are also the product of globalization. The title of each sculpture is a short paragraph collaged from the statements that were originally emphasized by the individuals making these gesticulations.