Juliana Cerqueira Leite

Juliana Cerqueira Leite Exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery

Juliana Cerqueira Leite


Plaster and acrylic polymer, polyeurethane rigid foam

210 x 47 x 45 cm

“My work is driven by an investigation into physicality and how we interact with the physical world,” says Juliana Cerqueira Leite. “For Up, I built a box that was as tall as I could reach, slightly larger than my body, and completely filled it with clay. The box was raised onto a steel platform so I could crawl under it. I dug upwards through the clay until my entire body fit inside the box and I could reach its top with my arms stretched above my head. The final piece is a plaster cast taken from the space I dug out and shows the minimum amount of space I could occupy. The wavy surface is formed by the negative grooves from the tips of my fingers pulling the clay downwards and pushing it out of the bottom of the box. The work is black because when I was inside the clay it was completely dark. I couldn’t see anything so this piece was made entirely by touch.”

Juliana Cerqueira Leite


Plaster and acrylic polymer, polyeurethane rigid foam

210 x 69 x 65 cm

“The process shows me something about my body or form and the end result is always a surprise. For Down, I used the same sized box and amount of clay as in Up, but dug downwards from the top. I don’t really plan how I’ll carry out the tasks that I set myself and I thought I might dig like a dog, but discovered my body doesn’t work like that: I had to sit in the hole I was making and scoop around myself, lowering myself feet first into this space. As I got deeper I found myself using rock climbing techniques to suspend myself inside the clay. The spiral formation emerged through the subconscious movement of working in a circular way. You can see all the impressions of my knees, feet, and elbows. I cast this form in plaster, it’s one of the most readily available materials, historically so linked to sculpture and it’s important to me that it’s organic and non-toxic. The object isn’t solid but still very heavy; it’s installed as if it defies gravity.”

Juliana Cerqueira Leite


Latex, cheesecloth

214 x 214 x 214 cm

“I like thinking about physics: what would our bodies look like if time didn’t separate our actions? I started Oh by standing in front of a wall with pencils in my hands and traced the area all around me as far as I could reach without moving my feet. The diameter of what you can touch around yourself is surprisingly spherical. I wanted to make an object that would materialise that space. I made an 8x8’ octagonal room with a small hole at the top that I could enter through and layered the inside with 2 tons of clay that I pushed and dragged away from myself until it recreated that sphere of reach. I then painted the interior with latex to cast the ‘balloon’. I tried inflating it, but it’s too heavy to hold air and I like the form as a sculptural object in itself. It’s like an entity or an organic mass and becomes warped by the weight of itself. I see it as a volume defined by the potential of touch.”

Juliana Cerqueira Leite's Biography

Juliana Cerqueira Leite
Born in Chicago
Lives and works in London


2009 Up Down In Out, Trolley Gallery, London.


Beyond Body and Gesture, Orion Contemporary at Riverwide House, Mason’s Yard, London.
The Future Can Wait, Truman Brewery, London.
Dis-locate Festival, Ginza Art Lab, Tokyo.
Ethereal, Motdar, Copenhagen.
The Future Was Then…So What Now?, Scope Art Fair, New York.
East Wing Collection 8, Courtauld Art Institute. Lond

The Future Can Wait: The New London School. Atlantis Gallery

New Figurative Realism, Clapham Art Gallery
The Mouse that Roared, Project 133. Curated by Kieron Dennis

Act Art 03, Disorder, Central Station. Performance and video art event
New Works by Graduates, Woburn Project Space, Slade School of Fine Art
Group show curated by James Roberts

Young Gods, Clapham Art Gallery. Selected 2004 graduates
A Little Flat in Kensington. Curated by Maria Walsh and Sophie Loss
Act Art 02, 291 Gallery. Live performance, video, painting and sculpture event curated by Juliana C. Leite and Oliver Frost

Act Art 01, 291 Gallery. Live performance, video, painting and sculpture event curated by Juliana C. Leite and Oliver Frost.