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Donna Huanca presents a series of new works commissioned by Ballroom Marfa in her exhibition ESPEJO QUEMADA. Huanca creates experiential installations that incorporate paintings, sculptures, video, scent and sound. The profound experiences and memories of Huanca’s first visit to Marfa in 2005 inspired the work in the exhibition. The artworks draw on visual, cultural, and mythological cues informed by feminism, decolonialism and the artist’s personal and familial histories, while simultaneously engaging with the biodiversity, geology, and dark skies of Far West Texas. The sky was particularly striking for Huanca–animated with cosmic and extraterrestrial forces while also revealing the natural rhythms of the sun and moon.

ESPEJO QUEMADA, Huanca’s first exhibition since the pandemic, uses mirrors as formal and metaphorical devices to respond to changing conditions. The exhibition title translates to “burnt mirror” in English (purposefully feminized in Spanish, alluding to Huanca’s feminist praxis) suggests reflections of the current moment, portals to the past and future, and catalysts for combustion and change.

The experiences of time, touch and embodiment are reconsidered in the shadow of the pandemic, as physical contact and proximity are restricted and artworks are mostly encountered digitally. By working with an amalgam of color, texture, sound, and scent to enliven the senses, Huanca creates alternative and elongated temporal spaces for contemplation. Through perceptual transformations, we are reminded that the sentient body is a potent source that can receive and deliver knowledge and memories. Viewers experience powerful phenomenological shifts especially through her new work in Ballroom’s courtyard. The artist displays her first outdoor sculpture, which is made of stainless steel and installed atop an adobe bench covered with light-and temperature-sensitive pigment. The work responds to not only the climate in Marfa but also the bodies that sit and engage with the sculpture.

ESPEJO QUEMADA is curated by Daisy Nam, Ballroom Marfa curator.



Donna Huanca (b.1980) was born in Chicago, IL and currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Her painting, sculpture, performance, and new media work seeks to engage with the human body and its visceral connection to space and identity. Huanca’s practice pushes audiences to question their understanding of biology, ecology and history through a decolonial lens.

Huanca has exhibited internationally. Solo exhibitions include: OBSIDIAN LADDER at Marciano Art Foundation (Los Angeles) in 2019; LENGUA LLORONA at Copenhagen Contemporary (Copenhagen, Denmark) in 2019; CELL ECHO at the Yuz museum (Shanghai, China), and PIEDRA QUEMADA at Belvedere Museum (Vienna, Austria) in 2018, and SCAR CYMBALS at Zabludowicz Collection (London, UK) in 2016 amongst others. Huanca was a 2016 Hirshhorn Artist Honoree at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington D.C.), and a 2012 Fulbright Scholar in Mexico City, Mexico. She received a 2009 DAAD Artist Grant, and a 2004 DeGolyer Grant from the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas).

Ballroom Marfa

108 E. San Antonio St.

Marfa, TX 79843, USA


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