Donna Huanca: Wet Slit review

4 out of 5 stars
Donna Huanca
'Egeria' (2019) © the artist. Image courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery, London

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Donna Huanca’s art drips, melts, trickles and slithers through the gallery. It coats and covers every inch of this brightly lit space. Plastic sheeting lines the walls like the space is being prepared for something very, very messy. An ice sculpture – big crystalline blocks filled with blue hair-like fibres – drips, drips, drips into a pool. Sculptural paintings dot the space, big canvases cover the walls. They’re all thick with unctuous blue paint, ultramarines and cyans, delineating body curves and lines. They’re beautiful paintings, like Yves Klein at a Berlin sex party.

Downstairs you lose the bright white glare in favour of deep, dark blue carpets and walls. Jungle sounds fill the air, a powerful scent of burning wood and body odour hits your nostrils. It’s heady, overpowering stuff.

In case it wasn’t obvious, this is all art about the body, about skin and curves and sweat and touching. The smells and the paint teleport you into Huanca’s world, like you’ve stumbled into some magical, sexual ritual. It’s so absorbing and immersive that you feel like Huanca isn’t just exploring the bodies of her models – or even just some abstract concept of the body – but your body too. She’s inviting you into her ritual, making you consider your own form and texture. 

The only thing missing is Huanca’s signature live models haunting the space in their body paint. But you can forgive the omission, because here you get the chance to just concentrate on her paintings, which usually get so overshadowed, and they’re lovely things. 

The whole exhibition is great. It's open, sexual, sensual, gooey, inebriating art for the eyes, brain and nose. No bit of you leaves unsatisfied.


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