A Chilean artist who grew up under the oppressive Pinochet regime, Sandra Vásquez de la Horra studied graphic design and typography in her homeland before moving to Germany in 1995. Arriving in Düsseldorf at age 28, she studied at the prestigious Kunstakademie, developing a psychologically charged style of figurative drawings done on modestly sized pieces of paper that are then dipped in beeswax and pinned to the wall in poetic, nonnarrative arrangements. For her second solo show in New York, the artist presents nearly 100 of these raw graphite works, which boldly examine sex, death, politics and religion.
The largest grouping best expresses the exhibition’s title (which translates to “between heaven and earth”). Seven drawings into a chain of 41 images, we see the upper torso of a squatting female depicted as a transparent network of blood vessels, while her lower body is made of bricks. Near the center of the arrangement, another image shows a smoking man reclining next to the figure of Death; they float above a hand-lettered Spanish text that translates as “good company.” Nearby, a diptych captures reptilian people engaged in an orgy, while in the final piece, a dancing woman reveals an inner self of branches and leaves. With centaurs, mermaids, saints and demons taking part, the whole exhibition resembles a huge game of exquisite corpse, with each element providing a point of entry to an imaginary realm.—Paul Laster