Ecdysis: The Molting of a Cucarachica
7/25/2015 - 9/6/2015
Closing September 6
From 2002 to 2012, performance artist Xandra Ibarra’s burlesque persona, La Chica Boom, embodied the experience of racial and sexual abjection. Through combined parody and spectacle, La Chica Boom presented spictacles—performances that engaged hyper-visibility in order to explore the problematic realities of overtly sexualized racial tropes. Following her 2012 solo performance Fuck My Life, Ibarra resolved to abandon the persona of La Chica Boom to explore the possibilities of object-based art to reflect upon performance, ephemera, race, and sexuality.
Ecdysis: The Molting of a Cucarachica explores imagery related to the cucaracha and its life process, ecdysis, in which the insect molts or sheds its exoskeleton or outer skin. The much-stigmatized cucaracha signifies fears of overpopulation, endurance, and infestation for both home and nation. Now the cucaracha directs Ibarra in different, yet equally difficult ways of thinking through a racialized, sexualized existence. Her latest work in photography, video, and installation art reinterprets racialized costume as skin and uses the process of molting to reconsider her own relationship to La Chica Boom. Like the cucaracha, Ibarra’s own ecdysis results in leaving behind a skin, emerging anew, yet appearing exactly the same as she did before.