ViTA: Cristina Lucas
The new Video in The Atrium (ViTA) space in the Parren J. Mitchell Art-Sociology Building will showcase video art from the UMD Art Gallery and new work from artists all around the world, starting with Spanish artist Cristina Luca’s work.
The University of Maryland Art Gallery is pleased to present Video in The Atrium (ViTA): Cristina Lucas. This new initiative aims to bring art outside the walls of the gallery and activate an underutilized section of the Parren J. Mitchell Art-Sociology Building’s large atrium and gathering space. The series showcases video art from the Art Gallery’s own collection and presents new video work from national and international contemporary artists, highlighting the medium’s robust history and its latest directions. Expanding the Art Gallery’s existing footprint, ViTA brings art directly to the many students and visitors who pass through this space, allowing art to be part of their daily lives without even having to step foot into the Art Gallery.
The first in the series will be The People That Is Missing (2019) by Spanish artist Cristina Lucas (b. 1973). This short film was shot while the artist was in residence on Svalbard, a Norwegian island that is one of the northernmost inhabited areas on the planet. The film alternates between sweeping vistas of the region’s natural beauty and its commercial industries such as international shipping ports, mines, and cruise ships. The film’s audio comes from a poem written by the artist that collages phrases borrowed from many notable, and at times conflicting, thinkers on the topic of climate change and environmentalism, such as Bruno Latour, Alexander von Humboldt, and Donald Trump. As it is read, some of the words of the poem become literally etched into the surface of the landscape of Svalbard, revealing the connections between language and environment. The ways in which we as human beings express our relationship to the planet have concrete impacts, visible in the planet’s most vulnerable places such as Svalbard. The end of this poem calls on viewers to recognize the power of language, and, implicitly, art to change the course of environmental collapse and to usher in the “revolution.”
The timeliness of this presentation is significant given that Lucas’ work communicates the importance of art as an agent for promoting social change – a cornerstone of UMD’s Arts for All initiative. It also enlists University of Maryland students as “the people that is missing,” a phrase borrowed from early-20th century artist Paul Klee in reference to the audience that artists hope will take up the challenge posed by their work.
About the artist
Cristina Lucas is a Spanish Postwar & Contemporary artist who was born in 1973. Her work is currently being shown at multiple venues like Kunsthalle Mainz. Numerous key galleries and museums such as Museu Picasso de Barcelona have featured Cristina Lucas’s work in the past. Her work has been offered at auction multiple times. In 2022, Lucas has been featured in articles for The National, The Guardian and HAPPENING.