Poncili Creación (image courtesy Poncili Creación, photo by Walter Wlodarczyk)

Founded in 2012 by twin brothers Pablo and Efrain Del Hierro, Puerto Rican experimental puppetry troupe Poncili Creación fuses a DIY punk aesthetic with traditional folk motifs and a boisterous exuberance to create their own brand of  “performative sculpture,” as they call it. The tirelessly touring Del Hierro brothers craft their costumes primarily from polyurethane foam, which they find in whatever city they happen to be in, tearing into discarded couches or mattresses and ripping out the “meat” inside. From this raw material they create bold, playful, brightly colored masks, headpieces, or full-body outfits that they bring alive in spirited performances, often accompanied by noise soundtracks. (They were welcomed early on by Miami’s noise music scene, the brothers told Art Papers recently.) They often end performances by ripping apart their costumes and distributing the pieces to the crowd — a kind of irreverent, inclusive eucharist. The group’s name, derived from the term poncilidad, which they define as “chaotic tranquility,” reflects the mix of rigor and improvisation that characterizes their live sets. Traditional black box theater this ain’t.

Poncili Creación (image courtesy Poncili Creación, photo by Walter Wlodarczyk)

The duo, joined by a rotating cast of collaborators, have performed everywhere from museums and galleries, to restaurants and bars, to restrooms and raves. Next Wednesday they’ll be bringing their newest work Beautiful Nothingness to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA). It is described as a narrative about “moving from a state of incomprehensible dark times toward one of transformation,” a hopeful vision that could just as easily apply to Puerto Rico’s travails in the wake of 2017’s Hurricane Maria, as to our currently divided nation. Seating is limited, please RSVP.

When: Wednesday, August 7, 7:30–9pm
Where: ICA LA (1717 E. 7th Street, Downtown, Los Angeles)

More info at ICA LA.

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Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, CARLA, Apollo, ARTNews, and other publications.