Tender as the Language
Yesenia Bello is caught between two languages. As a first generation Mexican-American, Bello explores what it means to lose Spanish, her native tongue, while learning English from an early age: a language that is not shared by Bello's own kin. Through pressures of assimilation, Bello’s cultural links have existed in a continual state of flux--a precarity that has heightened her attention to the present and propelled her exploration of language as something nonlinear and kinetic.
Tender as the Language, Bello’s second solo exhibition in Chicago, presents immersive installations that explore the sensations of existing in self-defined space. Like drawings pulled off paper and stretched into three-dimensional forms, the works speak to the immediacy of physical gestures, exhilarating and exhausting all at once. The pieces rise and fall, capturing the intensity of Bello’s motions in the studio, as she wraps, loops, bends, pushes, and stretches her materials, sensing and adjusting their tensions.
In Bello’s words, “I think of these immersive works as tools that measure an accumulated heaviness, a falling out of form, a wrapping and mending… an arrangement of kinetic softness.” Like a deep breath and a long exhale, the hanging works sigh and sag, and also seem to continually revive themselves—as Bello explores what it might look like to reconcile loss, while caring for the things that are still here.