Eso - de ser opuesto a Yo
Juanita Lanzo, Elizabeth Robles





“When the eyes see or the lips touch that skin on the surface of milk—harmless, thin as a sheet of cigarette paper, pitiful as a nail paring—I experience a gagging sensation and, still farther down, spasms in the stomach, the belly; and all the organs shrivel up the body, provoke tears and bile, increase heartbeat, cause forehead and hands to perspire. Along with the sight-clouding dizziness, nausea makes me balk at that milk cream and separates me from the mother and the father who proffer it. "I” want none of that element, a sign of their desire; “I” do not want to listen, and “I” do not assimilate it. “I” expel it. But since the food is not an “other” for “me,” who am only in their desire, I expel myself; I spit myself out, I abject myself with the same motion through which “I” claim to establish myself. That detail, perhaps an insignificant one, but one that they ferret out, emphasize, evaluate, that trifle turns me inside out, guts sprawling; it is thus that they see the “I” am in the process of becoming another at the expense of my own death, During that course, I’m which “I” become, I give birth to myself amid the violence of sobs, of vomit. Mute protest of the symptom, shattering the violence of a convulsion that, to be sure, is inscribed in a symbolic system, but in which, without either wanting or being able to become integrated in order to answer to it, it abreacts. It abjects.“ -Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection

Hidrante is pleased to present Eso — de ser opuesto a Yo, an exhibition by Juanita Lanzo & Elizabeth Robles, from August 26th to October 27th.

Eso — de ser opuesto a Yo connects two artists whose practices center on the body and the myriad vitalic processes and relations that spring forth from this flesh we inhabit. The exhibition considers Julia Kristeva’s concept of the abject, referring to the human reaction (horror, vomit) to a threatened breakdown in meaning caused by the loss of the distinction between subject and object or between self and other, as a theoretical point of reference that links Lanzo’s and Robles’ work by way of conceptual and aesthetic connections. For Kristeva, despite everything, we are recurrently drawn to the abject, associating this aesthetic experience with poetic catharsis: "an impure process that protects from the abject only by dint of being immersed in it.” Metaphors for life cycles, development and deterioration, reproductive or sexual activity, organs and entrails, the Inside and the Outside, the works in this exhibition span almost 20 years of creative production, tracing a long-term engagement with the body and the flesh of the world.

Elizabeth Robles’ objects emerge through construction, foraging, and stratification, engaging with the materiality of the world surrounding her. Art, nature, and how we relate and transform ourselves are constant keys to her artistic practice. Robles’ sculptures draw on their rich materiality, fusing their organic and inorganic qualities, which beckons us through the seductive surfaces. In Juanita Lanzo’s drawings and collages, successive watercolor washes and lines combine to create biomorphic forms that actively engage the composition. Alluding to biological cycles, cells, entrails, organs, and tissues, Lanzo’s works on paper refer to organic metabolism and the constant state of becoming something else. In her images, the ambiguity and intertwining of touch hint at the crisscrossing of lateral, overlapping relations with other people, creatures, and other things – an expressive space between lived bodies.

Juanita Lanzo (b. 1973, Puerto Rico) is a visual artist, educator, and independent curator working in The Bronx. Inspired by anatomy, life cycles, and the natural world, she creates artwork evocative of growth, sexual activity and reproduction, death and decay, love and loss, pain and pleasure, and healing from trauma. In the last 20 years, she has worked as an arts administrator at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx Council on the Arts Longwood Arts Project, En Foco, and Bronx River Arts Center, closely collaborating with artists, curators, and activists from the Caribbean, African Diaspora, and Latinos. Juanita Lanzo currently lives in East Harlem, NY.

Elizabeth Robles (b. 1960, Puerto Rico) practices across media, working with sculpture, installation, drawing, painting, and performance, all within walking distance from her home. The intimacy of her relationship with her surroundings leads her to produce an art of connections and coexistence between objects found or created, materialities, architecture, and the urban and rural fabric, dilating the boundaries that separate art and life. Elizabeth Robles currently lives in San Juan, PR.

This project is possible thanks to the support of the Maniobra program of the Centro de Economía Creativa (CEC).

Eso - de ser opuesto a Yo, 2023 Exhibition view

Impulso primal, 2023 (Coyuntura) Beeswax, karst carbonate rock powder, plaster, stainless steel and wood table 29" × 22" × 12" (73.66 × 55.88 × 30.48 cm)

Eso - de ser opuesto a Yo, 2023 Exhibition view

Eso - de ser opuesto a Yo, 2023 Exhibition view

Círculo (Gasa), 2013 Beeswax, encaustic, linen, and stainless steel Dimensions variable

Eso - de ser opuesto a Yo, 2023 Exhibition view

Eso - de ser opuesto a Yo, 2023 Exhibition view

La criatura, 2006 Encaustic on linen and wood 5 ⅝" × 4 ¾" × 4 ¾" (14.29 × 12.07 × 12.07 cm)

On View
San Germán