DE ORO EN SU NÚCLEO
11/9 - 13/11 2021
Pradiauto is pleased to present the group exhibition De Oro en su Núcleo. The project starts from the city of London and the Royal College of Art as the beginning of diverse links between Esther Merinero, Lina Lapelytė, Alejandro Villa Durán and Frederik Nystrup-Larsen. The exhibition is activated as a zone of convergence of ideas and artistic intuitions. An encounter that had already begun in time and is now materialising in space.
From the 16th to the mid-20th century, in some wood-producing countries, the maderada was a river transport technique used to carry logs. Proceeding from the felling of forests and pine forests, these logs travelled along the river to places such as factories or industrial areas where they would later be used. In Spain, the people who transported these logs were called Gancheros. Their job was to help the logs to follow the riverbed and not stop. To do this, they climbed on top of them and let themselves be carried by the current. This work was risky; the force of the currents sometimes endangered their lives. The Gancheros had to understand the river, to give up control to the force of the current. Their task was to accompany the flow of the logs, trapped in the force of the water, until they reached their final destination.
As a commission for the 2nd International Riga Biennial, Lithuanian artist Lina Lapelytė (Kaunas, Lithuania, 1984), together with architect Mantas Petraitis, recreated a floating island made up of 2,000 pine trunks —those trees that had been left adrift because they were too twisted or too thick to be used—. This installation, called Instructions for the Woodcutters, 2021, served as the basis for the production of a performative and a sound work, which are now on show at Pradiauto. Instructions for The Woodcutters refers to the songs of the Hookcutters, which were based on the rhythm produced by the axe when it struck the tree. This tool allowed them to link themselves to this action and to sing about it. Through this installation and the accompanying song, the group of works proposes new readings of these floating debris, thinking about the past relationship between humans and nature.
The direct inspiration for my paintings is not the observation of an image, but rather the use of memory as a source of knowledge— explains Alejandro Villa Durán (Jalisco, Mexico, 1993). The Mexican artist's paintings belong to a new group of works developed in recent months in his studio in Mexico City. The special attention the artist pays to his body —manifested in actions such as fasting rites, periods of abstinence or extreme rituals of spiritual cultivation— is one of the triggers of his work. From a trained active listening to his organs and his body, Alejandro proposes to think of the body as a void, an organism full of power that fills up, impregnating itself with experiences and acquiring memory. In this way, nature plays an important role in his processes. Alejandro has cultivated a great interest and concern for the cultures of the south before colonisation in America. The artist rescues these cultures, studies them and attends rites that are currently celebrated in the jungle, experiencing in these contexts very intense states of physical and mental experimentation. The canvases presented in this exhibition collect, through an insistent superimposition of layers, memories of these almost supernatural and non-transferable experiences with language.
Esther Merinero (Madrid, Spain, 1994) presents in the exhibition a new series of pieces produced during 2021. Her work explores certain conditions of today's everyday existence, a world mediated by technology that generates hyper-connected yet solitary subjects. In her work there is a constant attempt to understand what it means to communicate and connect today: how is it done? How are the layers cleared so that we can touch the background? What is behind the screen and the skin?
Through an exercise of fiction and reverie, Merinero produces pieces that encapsulate exactly this opacity, this difficulty in knowing what might possibly lie behind the threshold. The works La Palma de mi Mano I and La Palma de mi Mano II are two sculptures in pigmented resin that derive from an earlier series, Gateways. Gateways to something deeper, more distant, which we can decipher as we can guess the future with the lines of the hand. The photographs also show us the two sides of his hand, one wounded, the other containing an uncertain treasure.
Frederik Nystrup-Larsen (Copenhagen, Denmark, 1992) presents the works Ambassador Bones and Call me Leopold, from the series The Private Collection. In the artist's own words, "it is an installation of sculptures that are presented as chapters of my own autobiography". Nystrup-Larsen situates his work in a debate about objects, their function and aesthetics. Her work is conceptually based, and is always presented "with an underlying love for the universal rules of beauty, which transcends all form and composition". Marked by an eclectic and transversal aesthetic approach, his work includes diverse processes and visual languages. This is evident both in her sculptures and in her text-pieces, which explore the possibilities of translation in poetry.
The Private Collection series was first shown in the final MA exhibition at the Royal College of Art, London, in 2020. This series has travelled to different spaces and galleries after its first exhibition. Each piece is presented, visually and verbally, with an exaggerated rhetoric that seeks a critical reflection on its own authenticity. Exaggeration and irony serve to propose the artistic practice itself as an exercise in self-promotion. Thus, each sculpture has among its materials a piece of text, which does not narrate it but rather composes it, emphasising the purely narrative character of art and the agency of words over the material. "Everything is truth. Everything is a lie".
De Oro en su Núcleo collects, through flow, fluidity and narrative, a series of gestures and interactions with history, nature, the magical and the contemporary subject that materialise in very different ways, but which share and meet in a fragile perception of the rhythms of today's society. The works in the exhibition place us in uncertain and disturbing places —in the middle of a torrent, a portal, a jungle or a dream— places where only fiction, fable and magic can guide us.