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Petición; for Exorcism

Marcela Torres

A photo of smoke
A photo of smoke

Due to the process-based nature of the Session program, this project will undergo constant modifications; the features of this page provide accruing information on the project’s developments.

November 16–December 30, 2020

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“Flower Mountain” is an idea from North American indigenous mythology referring to a kind of mountainous, floral paradise that connects water and sky, a liminal spirit world where the living and deceased can be together. Inspired by this celestial place of ritual, healing, and reflection, Session artist Marcela Torres presents Petición; for Exorcism, an evolving environment focused on releasing dark energies trapped in our physical and social bodies.

Petición; for Exorcism will be a formation of paintings, video and ceramic sculptures, dedicated to ritualized plants and activated through smoke. The installation will be a growing panoply of ceramic vessels full of flowers, herbs, and burning aromas. Employing a mixture of expulsion methods from mesoamerican curanderismo rituals, marital arts movement, and sound based archives, Torres continues the work of our recent uprising by petitioning the earth and its natural indigenous spirituality.

Members of the public are invited to sign up to receive an incense-making kit in the mail and community members are invited to write letters to Torres throughout the Session that memorialize the passing of a loved one during the pandemic. These letters will be added to Torres’ ceramic floral vessels, becoming a part of Petición; for Exorcism. In exchange for letters, Torres will send a uniquely-created “smoke bomb”––made of tobacco, copal, and cedar––that transport the receiver to their own “Flower Mountain.”

Session invites artists to use Recess’s public platform to combine productive studio space with dynamic exhibition opportunities. Sessions remain open to the public from the first day of the artist’s project through the last, encouraging sustained dialogue between artists and audiences. Due to the process-based nature of Session, projects undergo constant revision and the above proposal is subject to change.

About the artist

Marcela Torres

Marcela Torres is an artist, organizer, and educator that uses strength-building exercises and community rituals, to propose forms of reparations. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah and residing nomadically. Their physical research builds on methods of transcendental rituals, racial struggles within the United States and contemporary Latinx diaspora. Torres received a BA in Sculpture Intermedia and a BFA in Art History from the University of Utah, continuing their studies with a MFA in Performance from School of the Art Institute Chicago. Torres has performed at Performance Space New York, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, The Momentary, Fringe Festival and Time Based Arts. Torres has exhibited work at Hyde Park Art Center, UW-Parkside University and Petzel Gallery. Torres has been in residency at John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Franconia Sculpture Park, Recess, Links Hall and Creative Exchange PICA. They were a 2022 Chicago Dance Maker Forum Lab Artist, and a 2023 IACA Artist Fellowship Awardee for New Forms.

Artist Website


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