Gisela Torres


MBAL is delighted to show for the first time in Switzerland Gisela Torres’s Reverie and Slumber, a 3D projection mapping film originally part of her multi media installation Looking for Edmonia (Self-Portrait) where she proposes an uncanny dialogue with the 19th- century mixed-race American sculptress Mary Edmonia Lewis; the first known woman of African and Native American heritage to achieve international fame and recognition in the fine arts world.

Throughout the film Torres uses her voice as the main story telling element, fusing emotion and blurring the movement of time and space by appropriating Peggy Lee’s song Is this all there is ? to construct a new narrative. Words convey oscillating states of consciousness and unconsciousness, building portals between the past and the present to query the transience of artistic achievement.

As an American female artist of Afro-Cuban heritage, Torres finds a muse in Lewis. Parallels clearly exist relating to creative ambition and living and working in Italy, however, it was the shock of discovering that Lewis’s unmarked grave was found in London at Kensal Rise cemetery, in the vicinity of where Torres once lived, that propelled a sort of psychic connection. A strong desire to ‘channel’ Lewis and her own trajectory of struggle, success and eventual fate became the catalyst for the project.

Project in collaboration with the Printemps Culturel Neuchâtel (PCN).