Ivy Monteiro

Ivy Monteiro is a Brazilian artist based in Switzerland. Her performance practices include dance, music production, vogue, cabaret and club performance, along with longer form solo and collaborative works.

Spirituality and art-making comingle in Ivy’s practice – in performance she seeks to make invisible energies visible, to translate them into Live (or life) Art, to draw the subconscious into consciousness. Ivy says “my art and spirituality have grown hand to hand – so much that I don’t think it’s possible for me to detach them”. Appropriately enough for an artist who inhabits multiple performative mediums, personas and relationships, Ivy’s spiritual practice draws on a multitude of traditions, books and goddesses, becoming something deeply subjective. Performance is the vessel through which this unique and personal inner world is brought forth.

Ivy’s work is rooted in Afrofuturism, a way of thinking and mode of cultural production that has been characterised as a “program for recovering the histories of counter-futures … a space within which the critical work of manufacturing tools capable of intervention within the current political dispensation may be undertaken” (Kodwo Eshun). For Ivy, Afrofuturism is the practice of seeking strategies from history - from ancestors - and applying them to the here and now in the hope of manifesting new futures. Her process is one of discovery through communion, and her performances become the space where ancestry is felt and brought to bear on the future. This practice is also a survival strategy, a way of resisting the violences perpetrated against the bodies of trans and queer people of colour, and of working through mental illness.

In her most recent work, Trinta y Dois Igual a 5, Ivy uses Afro-descendant mythologies to consider ecology, nature, and processes of illumination, or salvation – happiness, safety, freedom. Whilst Ivy considers these processes to be deeply personal, she articulates how they should be shared between friends, lovers, ancestors or community, to build a solidarity between queer and trans people of colour. Ivy says “we are taught that our bodies are wrong, that our sexualities and genders are wrong, and that just one god can save us – we are the ones most in need of our own salvations, and in need of each other’s support in the search for our own salvations”.

In April, Ivy presented Mother The Verb, a powerful and rich collaboration with Javier Stell-Frésquez, in London at Chisenhale Dance Space as part of EcoFutures. The work considers queerness and motherhood, and represents an encounter between Ivy’s spiritual practice and Javier’s indigenous American heritage. Tender and physical, the work studies the toxic effects of colonial and ecological violence on human and planetary relations. For Ivy, the tension at the heart of the work is “how can we mother each other, and care for each other, without smothering each other”.

Throughout July Ivy has undertaken a research residency at the Live Art Development Agency (LADA). LADA is working with Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council on a three-year initiative (2018-20) to raise the profile of Swiss Live Art in the UK and contribute to the development of exchanges and collaborations between artists and promoters in the UK and Switzerland. Ivy’s residency, considering ancestrality, Afrofuturism, queerness and metaphysical connections, is one element of this programme. During her time in the UK, Ivy performed at Bar Wotever (London) as Tropikahl Pussy, her drag alter ego, and presented a performance lecture at LADA on 23 July.

Her future plans include a shared residency in Austria with other QTIPOC artists of Brazilian heritage, working towards a collective performance, and furthering teaching work at Tanzhaus Zürich.

Categories: Featured Artist

Date Posted: 25 July 2019