RAFAEL PÉREZ EVANS: DUST BATHERS
10 February–16 April 2023
Study, ‘Rafael Pérez Evans: Dust Bathers’, QUEERCIRCLE © 2022
QUEERCIRCLE is pleased to present ‘Dust Bathers’, a large-scale, site-specific installation by Rafael Pérez Evans (b. 1983, Málaga, Spain).
‘Dust Bathers’ borrows the collective and transgressive techniques of minority communities protesting for survival and presents a poetic opportunity to asilvestrar – the artist’s Spanish translation for the English verb to re-wild – following the work of queer theorists, Jose Esteban Muñoz, Jack Halberstam and Tavia Nyong’o. A departure from urban and eco-bourgeois appropriations of the rural, ‘Dust Bathers’ will look to the robust histories and imaginative capacities of rural agricultural protest and queer dissent.
Bridging two surplus communities and their respective sites of unrests – those of agricultural workers protesting on the streets, and the dancefloors of Queer nightlife – Pérez Evans will present a new experimental installation which will embody untamed, dirty gestures of resistance. By metaphorically draining the technicolour spectacle of the LGBTQ+ rainbow, Pérez Evans will invite audiences to dust bathe in earthy tones as an exercise in imagining alternative horizons. Dust bathing is an animal behaviour characterised by rolling or moving around in dust, dry earth or sand, with the purpose of removing parasites, maintaining healthy skin or transmitting chemicals to mark territory.
Visitors will first enter the QUEERCIRCLE exhibition space via industrial-sized, see-through PVC strip curtains, usually used to refrigerate large spaces in the industrial food industries, but also reminiscent of the entrance of now-closed East London gay bar The Joiner’s Arms. The gallery floor will be heaped with earthy material. Borrowing the machinery and language of agricultural workers, at one side of the room, a long conveyor belt connected to a large industrial hay blower will be installed. Once a day during opening hours, visitors will be invited to load earthy material with their bare hands onto the conveyor belt. Staff will turn on the machine and the conveyor belt will feed the earthy material into the blower, creating an ephemeral dust cloud, temporarily bathing the gallery and engulfing visitors in earthy tones. Outside of these scheduled activations, audiences will be invited to roll, shake, dance and dust bathe at their leisure.
For the first time since its launch, QUEERCIRCLE’s side window will not be obscured, allowing passers-by and visitors not wishing to partake to view the dust storms from outside.
‘Dust Bathers’ will conclude QUEERCIRCLE’s inaugural year-long programme cycle centred around the theme of ecology.
Alongside ‘Dust Bathers’, presented in the QUEERCIRCLE Reading Room, will be ‘Nni Bu Ogwu (Food is Medicine)’ by artist Chiizii. QUEERCIRCLE will display works created during Chiizii’s pilot Digital Research Residency at Yinka Shonibare Foundation, supported by the Genesis Foundation which began in June this year. On show will be large-scale paper collages which will ask the questions; how have Igbo Nigerians used art to exchange food information? And how can art be used as an accessible tool for nutritional and educational enrichment?
In early 2023, QUEERCIRCLE will also host the next CATALYST project from 12 January until 5 February 2023. Teaming up with Camp Books, Black Hair Stories, Black Fly Zine, Strange Perfume, Grrrl Zine and Pagemasters, QUEERCIRCLE will host a queer zine makers takeover. Following an open call with no criteria, no theme and no judgement which ends on 15 December 2022, makers from around the world will send in their zines where it will become part of an exhibition in the gallery space, which will then move to the Reading Room to be housed permanently.