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Lecturer: Clarissa Tossin

Title: Artist Clarissa Tossin

Date: Thursday, September 22

Time: 12 p.m. MT

Location: CU Denver Building - Second Floor Gallery


Lecture Description

Los Angeles–based artist Clarissa Tossin uses video, installation, sculpture, and collaborative research to engage with suppressed counter-narratives implicit in the built environment. Her upcoming film, Mojo’q che b’ixan ri ixkanulab’ /Antes de que los Volcanes Canten / Before the Volcanoes Sing, takes a sonic approach to the articulation of indigenous cultural motifs borrowed by Western architects in the 1920s Mayan Revival style by utilizing 3D scanned and printed replicas of Maya wind instruments from pre-Columbian collections held in US and Guatemalan museums.

This multilayered project attempts to decolonize Mayan Revival architecture, reclaiming its connection to lineages beyond the modernist tradition. Filmed mainly at the Sowden House in Los Angeles, the Mayan iconography—co-opted, transformed, and re-inscribed in modern American architecture—is animated in a kind of healing ritual, opening up an alternate space for these structures to live in the present in continuity with the hybridity of contemporary Mayan culture in Los Angeles.

About Clarissa Tossin

Tossin received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2009 and BFA at Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado, São Paulo, in 2000.

Recent solo exhibitions have been held at La Kunsthalle Mulhouse, France (2021); Harvard Radcliffe Institute, Cambridge (2019); 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica (2019); Galeria Luisa Strina, São Paulo (2018); Blanton Museum of Art, Austin (2018); Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles (2017); and Wesleyan University, Middletown (2017).

Selected group exhibitions have been held at the Denver Art Museum (2021); Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York (2021); MASS MoCA, North Adams (2020); Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh (2020); New Orleans Museum of Art (2020); SESC Pompéia, São Paulo (2020); Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge (2019); Luhring Augustine, New York (2019); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2018); 12th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2018); KADIST, San Francisco (2017); and Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2017).

Tossin is the recipient of a Graham Foundation Grant (2020), an Andy Warhol Foundation Grant (2020), a Foundation for Contemporary Art Grant (2019), an Artadia Los Angeles Award (2018), a Fellows of Contemporary Art Fellowship (2019), and a California Community Foundation Fellowship (2014). She has been in residency at LABVERDE Art Immersion Program (2019), 18th Street Arts Center (2019), Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University (2017-18), Fundação Joaquim Nabuco (2015), and Artpace San Antonio.

Tossin’s work is currently on view at the MCA Denver's solo exhibition "Falling from Earth" and in "The 8th Continent," a solo public art project at Brochstein Pavilion, Rice University. Upcoming solo exhibitions will be held at Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (EMPAC), opening September 9, 2022; and Galeria Luisa Strina, São Paulo, opening November 19, 2022.

Event Details

  • Lara, Diana
  • Wrenn, Jackson
  • Chiansi, Sadie

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