V is a large sculpture, of two separate latex forms joined in the centre; one describing the artist’s movement up stairs and the other down. This stemmed from the artist responding to the unique situation of the gallery’s [T.J. Boulting] underground space, and the very specific motion of going down the stairs and exiting through an inverse mirroring of this motion. The two parts were cast from a large mould composed of a set of stairs covered with a wooden tunnel, slowly lined with clay. The space remaining, as closely as possible, replicated the space occupied by the artist’s body, as it first ascended and then descended the staircase. The process of this form’s making is codified in its shape, striking a resonance with Marcel Duchamp’s 1912 painting ‘Nude descending a staircase’. This painting in turn was made from studying a series of photographs by Eadweard Muybridge of 1887, taken in fast sequence showing the movements of a nude woman descending a staircase. The work took the language of the mechanically reproduced moving image into the realm of the painterly. It was later appropriated as the theme for Gerhard Richter’s ‘Ema’, also painted from a photograph and previously taken by the artist. - TJ Boulting
From the exhibition of V, 2012 at Marres
The body of Brazilian-American artist Juliana Cerqueira Leite is both the instrument and the subject of her work. The work V is a latex mass in which only the imprints of hands, feet and several odd protrusions remind one of the human instrument. The latex was painted into a large mold, consisting of a staircase covered in layers of clay encapsulated in a wooden tunnel. A cast was made after the artist had walked up and down the staircase through the clay. The inverted cast is presented at Marres. The result is a sculpture that very clearly incorporates the traces of a body. The work is somewhat paradoxical: movements that are usually ephemeral and intangible are captured in this sculpture. Leite is interested in the effect of her body’s physical action on (sculptural) materials. Through her method she always leaves something personal behind, giving the impression that she herself still inhabits the work. In this way the artist not only explores the space with her body, but also plays with the definitions of the self-portrait.