- Elena del Rivero
– 12th century Heloise
– dish towels
– Louis Kahn
– found letter from 1959
– flea market frame
– silver gelatin
Travesia Cuatro is delighted to present Elena del Rivero’s (Valencia, Spain 1949) first exhibition with the gallery in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Elena del Rivero’s works in this exhibition incorporate the above ingredients into a recipe of Mother. Through this collection of work del Rivero acknowledges Mother, not as an individual but as an encompassing force, present even in absence. Mother is the common denominator shared by all. The works are composed of traditional art materials, combined with items found in the home. These elements are utilized to weave together a narrative of exchange between the feminine domestic sphere and the canon of history.
Elena del Rivero has built her own language in order to approach the symbolic distances between the realms of the public and the private. Her letters deepen into the internal codes of intimacy, bringing together the studio as a space devoted to creation and the home as a grid of vital disposition.
The recurring figure of the dishcloth is used by the artist as an ambiguous and receptive surface which remains in constant transformation. Sometimes the dishcloth is presented as a flag, entailing the possibility of collective identification; it also functions as a codified letter, avoiding interpretation and establishing privacy as a poetic dimension.
The usage of language within Elena del Rivero’s work transforms enunciation into conjuring through repetition, which implies force and embodiment. This practice is complimented by a poetic understanding of the materials she uses that perform as an archive of experience. Furthermore, spices such as turmeric are imbedded into the body of the paint. The series titled “Domestic Landscapes” are an example of these dynamics.
Del Rivero undertakes a historic domestication, creating a series of homages that reference iconic figures of art history, artists such as Luis Barragán, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, among others, are introduced into a circle of familiarity through domestic symbols and the act of mending.
Paradoxically Elena del Rivero distances herself from the modernist canon and highlights the contributions of woman scholars such as Heloïse, Hildegard of Bingen, Marina Tsvetáyeva, and Teresa de Jesús, weaving signs and references of the feminine into a web of collaboration to find a common place in memory and experience.
- Charlie Billingham
Travesia Cuatro is pleased to present the first exhibition in Spain by British artist Charlie Billingham (London, 1984), for which the artist has made a new body of work, comprising of a number or small and large scale paintings of frogs and figures, and a wall painting.
To create his paintings, Billingham has taken cropped sections of imagery from a print by James Gillray from 1799. Through his cropping and recomposing, he has emptied the narrative content of the original historical satirical source, to isolate particular moments, gestures and expressions. Bulging with colour and hedonistic brushwork, the paintings are evacuated of the original meaning and intention of the print, while retaining some of the monstrous, bulbous qualities of his source material. With the imagery decontextualized, the paintings are able to take on their own new, more ambiguous narratives.
In reference to the print-making and colouring processes of the original etchings, which were often coloured by a range of people at different points in history, in a variety of colour ways, Billingham plays with repetition and mirroring. The latter refers to the way etchings are made: the print is a mirror copy of the etched plate.
A number of the paintings use the same section of imagery, but with different combinations of colours, as can be seen in the original prints: sometimes a dress is pink, sometimes striped green and white.
The paintings are hung on a new wall-painting created for the exhibition, showing a composition of koi carps block printed, under a regular repeated pattern of water ripples. The wall-painting references ornamental ponds, whilst also alluding to exotic wallpaper, both of which were popular in the 18th century. The pond setting also poses as a playful backdrop: the frogs sit on their canvases as if they were floating lily pads.