Embracing the Human Senses in Delcy Morelos’ North American Debut at Dia Chelsea

Embracing the Human Senses in Delcy Morelos’ North American Debut at Dia Chelsea
Delcy Morelos, Cielo terrenal (Earthly Heaven, detail), 2023. Installation view, Dia Chelsea, New York, 2023. © Delcy Morelos. Photo: Don Stahl

In Delcy Morelos’ new exhibition, "Delcy Morelos: El Abrazo", the Colombian artist known for using natural organic materials such as clay, soil, and natural fibers, explores the essential and profound relationships between water and earth in a two-part show at Dia Chelsea. This exhibition marks her first in North America and shows the gallery’s space shown across two parts: the first "Cielo Terrenal" (Earthly Heaven, 2023), and the second, "El Abrazo" (The Embrace, 2023). The exhibition’s text explains that Morelos makes muds from locally and regionally sourced soils and clays, attending as much to formal characteristics such as color and texture as to organic properties related to soil health, and uses them as paints and sculptural material. Drawing on the cosmologies of ancestral cultures, Andean and Amazonian as well as her own, Morelos's work explores the sustaining power of mud in its many forms-as a source of life and sustenance.

“There is a difference between seeing and entering. When you enter, you experience. Like in a symbiotic relationship, you allow yourself to be permeated by that which you are permeating,” says the artist.

In “Cielo Terrenal”, Morelos painted walls and the floor with soil. Other important features include organic material being used for ceramics and a makeshift river bed or cultivated farmland, which is supposed to represent the industrialized logic of minimalism; as well as ancestral open-fire technique are employed in the making the installations.

In Morelos’ “Un Abrazo”, she uses organic materials, such as soil, in order to create recreations of ritual architecture representing indigenous monuments, such as ziggurats, mastabas, and temples. This is supposed to highlight the importance of peat, which is the main theme of this particular exhibit in the importance during the fight against climate change.

Morelos' overall style involves the sublime use of earth and earth materials to create geometric and abstract designs. This style is supposed to represent the earth as an important and vital source of any kind of material. The artist uses her talents in painting, sculpting, and installation to create larger-than-life art forms such as this one.

On view through the end of July, this show was sponsored by the Dia Foundation, which serves as an important conduit for artists around the world who aim to re-work the landscape of art, exhibitions, and art galleries by pushing the limits that traditional art institutions and museums overall have placed on them.