Nasher Public: Empire of Dirt


The collective Empire of Dirt comprises Xxavier Edward Carter, Tabatha Trolli, and Gata Veladora, who work in a range of media encompassing ceramics, works on paper, installation, and performance. On view in the Nasher Public Gallery from December 10, 2023 through February 11, 2024, their collaboration for Invocation of the Cosmic Body presents, as the artists have put it, “a world-bending environment for visitors to examine their scale against the face of the expanding universe.”

The artists of Empire of Dirt create multidisciplinary artworks that span mediums and disciplines to allow a place of connectivity to ourselves, each other, and long histories of being. In the words of the collective, “Spiritual realms and material realities come together to form the artifacts of the artist's presence through ceramic, paper, performance, and sculptural offerings to represent a collective society greater than all of us combined. An Invocation of the Cosmic Body is a calling forth of that portion of all of us that aspires to reach the unknown through the means we have.”

The installation in the Nasher Public Gallery includes large-scale paper tapestries made by collaging together various papers, from receipts, tickets, and museum brochures to drawings and hospital paperwork. Accompanying these are a group of “bonsai”—large ceramics produced at Ceramica Suro in Guadalajara, Mexico that the artists subsequently adorned with varied materials as well as video and sound components. On the closing weekend of the exhibition, Empire of Dirt will activate the installation in an artist-led demonstration and performance