Since 1980, Puerto Rican artist and performer Awilda Sterling-Duprey’s (b. 1947) four-decade career has been influenced as much by Afro Cuban religious dance traditions as by the composer John Cage and musician John Coltrane. Her dance-drawings, a series of works begun in 2020, involve her blindfolding herself to make intense jittery, abstract marks on paper and walls in response to jazz improvisation.
Sterling-Duprey has explained: “In the moment, while making those images, I don’t have a sense of what I am doing, but I am enjoying grasping the concept. Abstraction gives me that openness and that freedom; from there, I can go further, be riskier in how I work. I have been forcing my brain to push ideas for so long that I don’t need to see what I am doing. To me, this is what is most abstract. Precisely because this information is encapsulated in my body, I don’t have to see what I am building on. I just have to feel it first.”
Video by Oresti Tsonopoulos, Filmed by Alex Munro and Jack Pearce, Edited by Nick Schiarizzi
Sterling-Duprey’s performance of . . . blindfolded took place in the midst of the Biennial installation. Visitors will encounter the product of Sterling-Duprey’s performance alongside video documentation of the artist performing another iteration of the work.
Awilda Sterling-Duprey performed . . . blindfolded during the installation of the 2022 Biennial. Sterling-Duprey’s dance-drawings, a series of works begun in 2020, involve her blindfolding herself to make intense jittery, abstract marks on paper and walls in response to jazz improvisation.
Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It’s Kept (April 6–September 5, 2022) is co-organized by David Breslin, DeMartini Family Curator and Director of Curatorial Initiatives, and Adrienne Edwards, Engell Speyer Family Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs, with Gabriel Almeida Baroja, Curatorial Project Assistant, and Margaret Kross, former Senior Curatorial Assistant.