On view from February 15 through March 22, 2024.
Lucia Monge approaches her creative explorations with the rigor of a biochemist and the curiosity, fascination, and imagination of her childhood growing up in Perú. Influenced by her scientist grandfather and the long hours spent in his garden, she developed the foundation of her artistic practice, which focuses on the natural world, observation of cycles, and the surprising beauty of material transformations.
In this exhibition, Monge explores stomata — the pores through which plants breathe — as a metaphor for life and vulnerability. Exchanging air with the environment is key to the photosynthetic process of plants. However, every time these pores open to breathe, the plant risks losing water. There is vulnerability in opening up, and loss and nourishment must be balanced in order to stay alive.
Mientras una Hoja Respira (While a Leaf Breathes) examines our connection to or dissociation from an intricate natural world that is hiding in plain sight. Through the fusion of art and biology, Monge presents us with a living installation where surprising materials are in conversation with each other. Her sculptures illuminate interspecies relationships and invite us to see how the human necessity to breathe is interwoven with the lives of plants and other organisms.
This exhibition was originally organized and supported by ArtYard, an interdisciplinary contemporary art center in Frenchtown, New Jersey, and curated by Elsa Mora.
Hampshire College’s presentation is curated by Lorenzo Conte, Gallery Director.
The artist is grateful to the many collaborators who have made this project possible: Erica DeWitt, Mika Obayashi, Humphrey Chen, Nadja Mogilewski, Jessica Lomo, Titi Portillo, Brian House, Elsa Mora, Jill Kearney, and Lorenzo Conte.
Lucia Monge is a Peruvian artist whose work explores the way humans position themselves within the natural world and relate to other living beings, especially plants. For the past 13 years, she has organized Plantón Móvil, a yearly “walking forest” performance that has led to the creation of public green areas in cities such as Lima, London, Providence, Minneapolis, New York, and soon in Paris. Other recent projects include a “fungi broadcast” about deforestation in Peru, and sending potato seeds to space as messengers for non-colonial visions of space travel.
Monge has shown her work internationally, including at the Queens Museum, Whitechapel Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art in Lima, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, and the Havana and OCAT (Shenzhen) biennales. She holds an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA from Universidad Católica del Perú. She is a founding member of FIBRA collective and an Assistant Professor of Art at Amherst College.