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Candelilla, Coatlicue, and the Breathing Machine

Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, Texas, USA
April 5, 2019 – September 8, 2019

Ballroom Marfa presents Candelilla, Coatlicue, and the Breathing Machine, an exhibition with newly commissioned and existing works by Beatriz Cortez, Candice Lin, and Fernando Palma Rodríguez. The title refers to a facet of each artist’s sculptural contribution to the show, which range from wax pours to robotic storytellers to provisional shelters and beyond.

The disparate installations and objects from these three artists weave together a multivalent conversation about the animate qualities of land; the coexistent simultaneities of past, present and future; as well as human and non-human migrations, cross-contaminations, and porousness—all while forwarding their own individual investigations. Each artist spent time in Marfa and around the Big Bend, and these particular experiences and responses are reflected in various aspects of the commissioned pieces.

New drawings from Candice Lin explore species common in the landscape around Marfa–cholla, creosote, ocotillo, among others–and were produced after the artist ingested tinctures she made of each of these plants. Lin will also create an immersive new installation conceived from her research on the biopolitics of the candelilla plant, whose distribution straddles the lower altitudes of the nearby US/Mexico border region.

Fernando Palma Rodríguez will make several new ‘mechatronic’ sculptures that address intersecting lands and histories in Texas and Mexico through choreographed spatial storytelling. These new pieces will be accompanied by existing kinetic works that will be re-programmed to respond both to elements in the gallery and to elements farther afield in the landscape.

A new installation from Beatriz Cortez in Ballroom’s courtyard explores different versions of modernity, nomadic architectures, and the future imaginary via geodesic domes constructed from chain link, folded metal, and scrapped car hoods. Cortez will also create a new machine for the exhibition that marshals her skills with metalwork and engineering to create a hypocycloidal mechanism that mixes air—that breathes—thinking about plant respiration and the Infinite Mixture of Things, Past, Present, and Future.

Altogether the exhibition puts these three important artists and their distinct bodies of work in conversation with and about lands, plants, and histories. It represents a continued engagement with Cortez and Lin’s work, which has been threaded through past exhibitions and publications. Candelilla, Coatlicue, and the Breathing Machine facilitates the production of a slate of new objects and installations via Ballroom’s commissions, supporting new art, ideas and relationships.

The exhibition is organized by Ballroom’s Director & Curator Laura Copelin.


Beatriz Cortez, Candice Lin and Fernando Palma Rodríguez.


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