BBQLA, Los Angeles
June 9–July 19, 2018
The Spanish word lengua means both tongue (speech) and language (system of communication), it refers to the muscular organ that is part of the mouth, the biological element of the body that permits the transmission of dialogue. Tongues are our bodies and our bodies are a tongue. There is no speech without the tongue and no language without tongues.
A tongue is bitten, silenced, vocalized. It can bless or it can curse. The tongue can taste and swallow, it can kiss and it can lick. The tongue can figuratively heal or it can burn. Tongues are cut as a form of punishment, tortured for betrayal or malace. Certain cultures consume the tongue of cows as part of their cuisine. In others, tongues are used for brujeria (witchcraft) and magic spells. Tongues can complete sentences or remain silent. When their purpose is for derogatory speech, malas lenguas (bad tongues) is the turn of phrase. Though the tongue itself remains relatively concealed inside the mouth, autonomic like the breath, generally unnoticed, it quietly and unassumingly can destroy people and nations with its enormous, self-effacing power.
Las Lenguas is an exploration of the potential languages of the body, presenting works that consider the representation of the figure by way of its inaudible gestures of expression, from the tacit to the implicit. Lenguas demand sensitive observation, if not perception, to recognize the variety of its semblances. Lenguas ceaselessly shape shift– in the nuance of expression from a lover or a stranger, from the alienation of a foreign language, or the failure of translation–as the voice and the body seek distinguishable codes of associations. Truth beyond the territory of one’s own lengua is unknown. Lenguas reveal or conceal the mysterious shapes and sounds that exist in the interior and exterior worlds made by the body.
Las Lenguas features work by Manny Castro, Raúl Guerrero, Alan Gutierrez, Yaron Michael Hakim, Shaun Johnson, Sofía Londoño, Jesse Mockrin, Nora Riggs, Ellen Schafer, and Hiejin Yoo. Las Lenguas is organized by Gladys-Katherina Hernando.
2315 Jesse Street
Los Angeles, California 90023
Image: Mahavidya Bagalamukhi Pulls The ‘Evil Tongue’, c. 1850, Kalighat painting on paper, source unknown.