Young Artists 2021

Artist Danica Barboza Is Returning To Her Alter-Ego

Wallace Ludel

Photography by Leticia Barboza

Danica Barboza
Photography by Leticia Barboza.

“The tenor of our current time has become the perfect climate for being rebellious,” Danica Barboza tells me over email. The ungovernable energy has even led the artist to start a band, which she describes as “a mangled version of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.” Side projects aside, it’s been a busy year; in January, the artist took over Berlin’s Schinkel Pavillon with her solo exhibition, “Advanced Pair Bonding,” an absolutely riotous installation (which Rindon Johnson recounted for our spring issue) and before that she was one of four artists featured in the inaugural exhibition at Artists Space’s new location. The focal point of the Berlin show was a pool of jet-black water from which the rest of the exhibition stemmed, comprising a kaleidoscopic range of materials such as a massive, sunken digital clock, a lifesized nude figure and other scattershot forms that toed the line of sculpture and detritus. “It was quite an exhilarating stretch to be on three different time zones at once, preparing for both exhibitions, and overseeing technical fabrication and construction abroad,” says Barboza.

Danica Barboza

Detail from Danica Barboza’s “Advanced Pair Bonding” at the Schinkel Pavillon in Berlin.

The installation also served as an ode to David Bowie, who the artist has referred to as her “muse” and whose fluidity in all things—gender, genre, identity—has inspired her own quest for, as she puts it, an “artistically actualized personal mythology.” Like Bowie, who birthed Ziggy Stardust, Barboza has also sought an alter ego: her doppelganger is Amalphia, “an over-the-top sexualized exhibitionist” who the artist first began performing as during her time at Cooper Union and has recently begun channeling once again. “Returning to Amalphia as a persona seems to be a perfect match for me,” she shares, recounting how this resurgent persona itself is indicative of her larger body of work. “One of the things I find myself grateful for in discussing my artwork is the fact that all of my projects are interconnected—everything exists like the hub of a wheel, its center and its spokes radiating outwards,” she says, noting, “I’m looking forward to doing more with Amalphia as a character persona—it feels a lot like privately conferring with a close friend to take over the world.”