A Potential Space is an artist book by Brazilian sculptor Juliana Cerqueira Leite that proposes a re-reading of the cultural and theoretical frameworks that surround representations of the female sex. The book contains no printed text. Instead 83 laser-cut pages accrete into a small negative form. Each page reveals an individually cut outline derived from a 3D scanned body cast. These outlines combine to represent the inner topography of a vagina, originally cast inside of a body, now contained as negative space within the book

The vagina is a protean organ located inside of the body, similar in its actions to a 'potential space': the anatomical term used to describe instances where tissues inside the body are pressed against each other normally but are not attached, giving them the ability to generate space. The reduction through which the vagina’s anatomy became reified as a ‘tube’ or ‘passage’ giving rise to a primary metaphor of female as space is played out through the very constructs of visual representation, which cannot directly portray things that do not occupy space. The limits of scopic representation become particularly evident where the female sex is depicted precisely because its boundaries have been set without regards to the realistic inclusion of this sex.

The book formally mimics the logical mechanism of dissection in carrying the female inner space into the visual field through its bisection. Providing only ever partial view, the book reveals only through its fragmentation.      

A Potential Space is an edition of 75 plus 8 artist proofs. Coptic bound hardcover by Small Editions. Letterpress by Middle Press. Offset print by Rolling Press. Produced in Brooklyn, New York, with the support of Isabelle Kowal Odermatt.


"The Book, the Woman and the Body Politic"

Artist talk and panel discussion with Tatana Kellner and Juliana Cerqueira Leite
Moderated by Corina Reynolds

The human body and its socio-political framework have been important themes in women’s artist books. ArtistsTatana Kellner and Juliana Cerqueira Leite explore an expanded perspective of women’s artists book publishing. Brazilian sculptor Juliana Cerqueira Leite will talk about the representation of female anatomy within her new artist book A Potential Space. Tatana Kellner, as both established book artist and founding member of Women’s Studio Workshop will provide insights into the socio-political content of her work and her role in supporting other female artists in this field. Corina Reynolds, founder of Small Editions will moderate the discussion and Q&A.

About the Artist:

Juliana Cerqueira Leite is a Brazilian/American sculptor based in Brooklyn. She has exhibited her work in group shows in venues such as the Saatchi Gallery (London), Duve Gallery (Berlin), the Vancouver Biennial, Cass Sculpture Foundation and the Marrakech Biennial. Recent solo shows include T.J. Boulting Gallery (London), Galleria Lorcan O’Neill (Rome), Galeria Casa Triângulo (São Paulo), Regina Rex and AIR Gallery (New York). In July 2016 she was awarded the Furla Art Prize for her contribution to the 5th Moscow Young Art Biennial. In 2015 she produced a large-scale outdoor sculpture commission for Lustwarande (NL). Upcoming shows include a group exhibition at Marres House for Contemporary Culture in Maastricht, and a two person show at The Landing Strip, Berlin, both opening September 2016. Cerqueira Leite graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art MFA in London in 2006, as recipient of the Kenneth Armitage Sculpture Prize.

Leite has taught at the Slade School of Fine Art in London as well as for Oxbridge Academic Programs at Barnard College (NYC) and Jesus College in Cambridge (UK) and CityLit College in London. She has been a contributing art writer for Naked Punch, a contemporary art and thought review based in London, New York and Lahore. 

For more information, please visit: julianacerqueiraleite.com.