ABOUT

Studio Lenca aka Jose Campos is an artist from El Salvador living and working in the UK.

“I was born in La Paz, El Salvador and like many had to flee the country during its violent civil war during the late 1980’s. I travelled to the US by land, illegally with my mother.  I grew up in San Francisco, California as a queer minority in the gaze of a strictly conservative administration as an undocumented ‘illegal alien’. Ultimately, I found refuge in the UK and became a British Citizen in 2007. This experience of being uprooted serves as a framework for my ideas to be read by others as themes of identity, belonging and oppression are universal.

As a queer member of the Latinx diaspora , my work is focused on ideas surrounding difference, knowledge and visibility. I work with performance, video, painting and sculpture. My work often starts through personal memories, creative activism or underpinned by different forms of praxis. I work under the name of ‘Studio Lenca’ as the language of ‘studio’ refers to a space for experimentation and a place that is constantly shifting. Lenca refers to my ancestors of my native El Salvador.“


Email studiolenca@gmail.com

CV

Jose Campos 
B.1986 La Paz ,El Salvador
Lives and works in the UK

Education: 
MA Arts & Learning 2019 Goldsmiths University of London 
Art & Design PGCE 2015 Goldsmiths University of London 
MA Contemporary Dance 2013 London Contemporary Dance  School



2021

The Pattern of patience at Marc Straus Gallery NYC

Los Historiantes, Nominated for Prix Pictet

2020 
Los Historiantes , Winner of the Open Solo exhibition Photofringe  UK 

Unknown Learning , Northdown Studios 

Peckham Pride Mural Culture Seeds 

Queer’ing the art curriculum lecture University of Arts London 

2019 
Mile of String , Horniman Museum London

Los Historiantes , ‘La Horchata’ Publication Washington DC 

Los Historiantes , VIA Arts Prize Embassy of El Salvador 

Peoples Voices for Tony Cokes Goldsmiths Centre for  Contemporary Art 

Los Historiantes Margate NOW Festival

Doing and Undoing St James Gallery, Goldsmiths University

2018
Critical Pedagogy in Contested Spaces Tate Modern 

The Artist Teacher 288 New Cross Rd 

2017
Rural Painting School La Paz El Salvador 

2016
Artist in Residence Under the Same Sun , South London  Gallery 

2015
Kill Kill Kill Parasol Unit Gallery , London 

2014
Navigating dance with my fat body 288 New Cross RD

Passport Please 310 New Cross RD Gallery 

2013 
The Wave Trinity Laban 

The Wave National Portrait Gallery 

2012
Local Group Resolutions !, The Place London  

2011
Choreographic Scores at Trisha Brown Barbican  Art Gallery, London 

Visiting Lecturer

New York University “The Latinx Project”

Goldsmiths CCA Assistant curator

Freelands Foundation 

Unknown Learning Northdown studios

University of the Arts London 

Embassy of El Salvador 

VIA Arts Prize

University College London 

University of Leeds 

Trinity Laban 





CURRENT WORK
‘Money Dance’ 2021
Mixed media with collage ( US Dollars and Salvadoran colon)
159 cm x 208 cm
“Money Dance” comes from a typical dance at Salvadoran weddings where the guests queue up to pin money on the bride and groom in exchange for an intimate dance. This practice is particular to communities that have immigrated to the US illegally in an effort to support the party hosts financially.

Here social, monetary and political currency converge.

Dollars,Colons and Bit Coin all jostle against the vibrant costume of the dancer in the painting. The range of currency charts the trajectory of El Salvador’s socioeconomic past, present and future. Evidence of policies and practices that have constructed the Salvadoran identity and contributed to a violently constructed image authored by the white gaze.
As El Salvador navigates the 21st Century the country continues to grapple with the cultural and economic power of money. On the 7th September 2021 El Salvador will become the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender.

As if overtaken by a parasitic rash frantic bitcoin gold dots leak from the confines of the figures and attack like a plague.


‘Loras’ 2021
oil on canvas with carbon drawings 
150 cm x 100 cm



‘Lenca Pots’ 2021
spray paint and acrylic on canvas
122 cm x 152 cm each



‘Chambelan’ 2021
oil on canvas 
100 cm x 150 cm




‘Vessels of Magic’ 2021
Paper vessels with spray paint and cochineal
60 cm x 40 cm 

Task 1: Choose a pot. I made these pots inspired by the Lenca people from El Salvador, a lost civilization, language and visual culture from my home country.

Task 2: Break apart and destroy the pot. Completely remove its form and visual language.Task 3: Create something from the remains and place it in front of the projection, which shows layered clips of my studio, a student making work and my family in El Salvador making chocolate. All forms of making that are connected through me. These experiences are ‘intra-acting’ within me nourishing my pedagogical practice. Layers of practice and making overlap and sprout new forms of knowledge that may take immeasurable lengths of time to reflect on.


Processes are where we learn


In my performance installation ‘Doing and Undoing’ ( 2019 ) at Goldsmiths University I presented a collection of Papier Mache pots I created in my studio over six months. The forms were inspired by the pottery of the Lenca civilization. The materials were crucial in the work as the paper and the construction of the forms rendered them useless as objects. I asked the audience to destroy the work by crushing the pots and using the remains to create their own objects, subsequently ridding of the Lenca reference. I wanted to make the point that it is not in the final outcome that we learn but in the process. The act of destroying the pots was an act of collective undoing in which the materials informed learning. The outcome became unimportant and the not knowing became pedagogical. I wanted to send the message of things never ending, learning never ending.