Franklin Furnace Fund Recipients 2017-18

(West Lafayette, IN)Verónica Peña


VERONICA PEÑA is an interdisciplinary artist and independent curator from Spain based in the United States. Her work explores the themes of absence, separation, and the search for harmony through performance art. Peña is interested in migration policies, cross-cultural dialogue, and women's empowerment. Recent works include experimental participatory performances that create shared moments amongst strangers. Peña has performed in various countries around Europe, Asia, and America. In the United States, her work has been featured at Times Square, Armory Show, NYU's Hemispheric Institute, Queens Museum, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Grace Exhibition Space, Triskelion Arts, Momenta Art Gallery, Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery, Gabarron Foundation, Dumbo Arts Festival, and Consulate General of Spain in New York, amongst others. She was a recipient of the Socrates and Erasmus Grants, a Universidad Complutense de Madrid Fellowship, and a candidate for the Dedalus Foundation Grant. She has published "The Presence Of The Absent", a thesis about her body of work. She was a visiting artist at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She curates "Collective Becoming", an initiative to make cities a place less hostile. She is currently at work on her new project about freedom, fear, and resistance, "The Substance of Unity."

Project Description

"The Body In The Substance" is a 12 hour performance in which I submerge my entire body within a liquid "substance" that slowly solidifies itself. When the "substance" has solidified, I am confined in the most beautiful stillness: as vulnerable as the ones still in the womb—unable to move, talk, or see, unable to hurt. Confined inside the "substance", the self gains power, the female body reveals strength, the immigrant body defies distance and separation. Stillness is a search for harmony, an act of resistance to counteract violence, fear, and injustice. The "substance" is the unknown, between the here and there, past and present, life and death.