Charlotte musician and activist Lara Americo is stepping into the realm of visual art, starting this Friday (January 6) with an exhibition at C3 Lab in South End called Chrysalis – A Study in Human Life. According to the Facebook event page:
Skin and bones are a cocoon for the soul to develop and grow on planet Earth. Chrysalis sheds that shell and peers into what’s hidden beneath.
Chrysalis is an exploration of what it means to inhabit a human body. It is common to assume that we are our bodies. Our bodies are a shell and our true selves are much more than human flesh. Chrysalis examines this flesh and what if means to navigate the world in these bodies using photography and 3-D molding. Each photo and 3-d mold will examine one subject and tell that person’s story.
Chrysalis (a butterfly which is becoming an adult but still enclosed in a hard case) is Americo’s first venture into the world of visual and art, after having released her debut album She / They in November 2016 (read the Creative Loafing review here). Chrysalis is a mixed media installation featuring photography and physical models, some using live people as their foundation.
Americo took some time recently to answer a few questions I had for her about the show, which you can see at C3 Lab (2525 Distribution St.) until January 23.
GohJo: Tell me a little bit about what visitors can expect to see at your installation at C3 Lab.
Americo: Visitors can expect to see real life. They will see people, physically. But they will see them in other forms than their human body.
GohJo: It appears that the inspiration for the show may have come from your experiences as a transgender person. Talk about how your gender identity evolution has influenced this show.
Americo: Being transgender forced me to closely examine what it means to be connected to a human body on earth. It made me see that we are not our bodies. The body is just a tool that we use. Even though the body decays we never die.
GohJo: How did you choose the subjects depicted for this show?
Americo: I know it may sound cliché but the subjects choose me just as much is I chose them. Anyone could’ve been a subject for this project. Everyone has a story in a way that they express themselves with their bodies. That’s all that I was looking for.
GohJo: You’ve gained some notoriety for your work as a musician, releasing the album She/They in 2016. What’s different for you in creating an art show versus a musical project?
Americo: I look at both mediums as different forms of artistic expression. Both are ways to describe something that is abstract and both are limiting in their own way.
GohJo: What’s something about the relationship between our bodies and our actual “selves” that people don’t often consider?
Americo: Most people, including me, forget that they are not their body and think the opposite is true. The truth whether we like it or not is that our body is dying every moment. This can be scary unless you realize that you will never die.
GohJo: What do you hope people will come away with after viewing Chrysalis?
Americo: I hope people can see that the human body is precious and beautiful because of its fragility. The fact that the body is dying is what makes the body so beautiful. Still, the true beauty is on the inside but can’t be seen.
GohJo: What else do you want people to know about this exhibition?
Americo: That life is beautiful. It’s always beautiful.
Check out the opening reception of Chrysalis – A Study in Human Life this Friday, January 6 at C3 Lab in South End from 7-10 p.m. All answers edited only for spelling and grammar.