Albuquerque is a Los Angeles based performer and sculptor. Albuquerque uses her own body, and the processes of casting and 3D scanning, to create headless, human scaled figures composed f a variety of military material.
The works unpack personal and poetic moments from her life and sets them against history, myth, and wider contemporary socio-political movements.
“Influence is such an interesting thing. I feel like it is always working on us. Sometimes something will emerge from one image I saw decades ago. It’s like the image is still working its way through me. I’m very influenced by ancient art. I look at it constantly because I am comforted when in conversation with humans throughout time.”
CAN YOU TELL ME A BIT ABOUT YOUR ARTIST STORY TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW? I UNDERSTAND YOU GREW UP IN A VERY ART-CENTRIC HOUSEHOLD. WAS BECOMING AN ARTIST EVER A QUESTION? TELL ME ABOUT YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY SURROUNDING ART?
One of my earliest memories of art was helping my mom pour red pigment across the floor of the Mojave Desert for one of her early land art pieces. I come from a long line of women artists. My great grandmother was a traditional Malouf singer in North Africa. My grandmother was an erotic playwrite, my mom is a visual artist and my sister a contemporary dancer. And for me becoming an artist was always a question. I fought against it for most of my life and tried just about everything else. I’ve worked as an architect, a gardener, an AI database researcher, a business woman, an actor, a performer, a singer, a designer, a bookmaker, the list goes on... Only recently did I give in and begin making sculpture. After the 2016 election of Donald Trump, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I cleared a space in my office and started sculpting heads and phalluses out of plaster and clay that I would sequentially behead. I did this for a few years before getting my own studio.
TELL ME ABOUT WHO OR WHAT YOUR INFLUENCES ARE? HOW DO THESE COME OUT IN YOUR WORK?
Influence is such an interesting thing. I feel like it is always working on us. Sometimes something will emerge from one image I saw decades ago. It’s like the image is still working its way through me. I’m very influenced by ancient art. I look at it constantly because I am comforted when in conversation with humans throughout time. And there are two humans alive now that have influenced me a lot:
My partner Jon Ray is an artist who is currently developing AI collaborators and the work he does with these new types of entities constantly expands my ideas of art and what it means to be “living”.
I’ve also been very influenced by Arthur Jafa. Jon and I worked with AJ on his 848 page anti monograph A Series of Utterly Improbable, Yet Extraordinary Renditions and that book and his work and his thinking have forever altered my thinking and my nervous system.
‘Women’ play a big part in your work. Can you tell me a bit about the different ways you approach the female form, and the themes surrounding women in your work?
I mostly work with my own body and see it as a kind of performative medium. I use life casting and 3D scanning to transmutate my own body into different materials, creating female bodies that hold a new kind of power. I’ve always loved nudes but since a very early age was disappointed that they seemed to mostly be represented from one viewpoint. With my work, I am interested in relocating the ementaion of desire around the female form. I am interested in the female bodies as no longer objects of external desire but instead as holders and projectors of their own desire and power and carriers of another legacy not defined against masculine gaze but an extension of matriarchal, mythological and internal lineage. Instead of desire being projected onto these bodies, these bodies themselves project the desire - from within - so that it emanates out.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
When I blush my whole body blushes. It’s gotten less intense as I’ve gotten older but when I was a kid, if I thought about something or said something that brought eyes on to me, my whole body would turn deep red. Cheeks, neck, ears, fingers everything. It really freaked people out. And it scared me too because any embarrassment or shame I felt was so visibly expressed in a way I couldn't easily hide. Later when I was a teenager I started doing performances and I remember it was such a relief because the stage lighting would hide the blushing and I felt free.
If you could have a meal with any artist from any time, what would the meal be and who would it be with?
I would love to feed grapes to Artemisia Gentileschi
What is your greatest indulgence in life?
Fantasy and long expanses of uninterrupted time for it.
How would you reframe the conversation around art to get more people involved?
I think that often language gets in the way of art. People feel they have to understand or speak a rarified kind of critical language that must be learned at expensive schools. This language can be super interesting, but it can also be used like a weapon or a fence that doesn't have to be part of experiencing a non verbal medium. Maybe one way to help open up the experience for more people is to make work that is more tactile. Work that people can touch and feel because touch is immediate and bypasses the logical parts of ourselves and communicates with language that we all understand and that no one is excluded from.
Favourite historical female artist?
Louise Bourgeois. Hard to choose but if I only get one :)
Favourite current practicing female artists?
There are so many! Today I’ve been thinking about the works of:
Frida Orupabo ,
Who should She Curates interview next ?
Frieda Toranzo Jaeger