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Lola Montes photographed in black and white

Lola Montes, photo by Lexie Moreland/WWD

“I think a lot about reincarnation, the spirit world, and who’s traveling within what body,” says Sicily-based artist Lola Montes, glancing around the exhibition room at Vito Schnabel Gallery on Clarkson Street in New York. “And how many times we’ve been here.”

The artist is in the middle of installing Cirica, her latest solo show of ceramic-based works, which includes sculptural paintings and objects like artichoke candelabras, an egg-shaped projection lamp and stools with painted ceramic tile seats. While several of her works are currently mounted, many more are laid out on the ground, waiting to find their final spot. Montes had installed the show earlier in the week, but found her initial configuration wasn’t quite working. And so she decided to start over.

Inside the gallery, which is owned by her brother, she unlocks a hidden wall panel that opens directly onto the sidewalk, letting in natural light and some outside air. A few minutes later, another brother, Cy Schnabel, steps through and into the gallery. The siblings briefly discuss Montes’ installation-in-progress, agreeing that the exhibition should feel like Montes’ home and not just a room with artworks hung on a white wall.

Montes, who grew up in New York (her father is painter and filmmaker Julian Schnabel) and currently lives in Sicily, is attuned to the art of consecrating a space. “I want there to be an internal balance that’s unbalanced,” she says. “And I find balance within the unbalance.”