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Elena del Rivero

Valencia, Spain. 1949

Elena del Rivero has dedicated her work to thoroughly study the diverse written and verbal forms to which human beings engage for communicating personal and intimate experiences, emphasizing into the epistolary format. Assuming the field of everyday life as a space that has multiple symbolic dimensions, the artist rescues certain gestures that through repetition can acquire an expressive capacity and also function as a path of autobiographical exploration, such as the act of mending or repairing certain materials. With these actions, Elena del Rivero interweaves the parallelism between domestic spaces and spaces dedicated to work, such as the studio. The artist has focused mainly in painting and work on paper, but has also produced large-scale installations and performances; always highlighting the receptiveness of the materials and how can they be used as narrative means.

Elena del Rivero was born in Valencia (Spain) in 1949. Between 1971 and 1974 she studied Philosophy at the University of Valencia. In 1975 she moves to Madrid, where she studies painting and drawing at Estudio Arjona, and various intaglio techniques, including aquatint, etching, and dry point, in the Oscar Manesi workshop. She started exhibiting her work in 1977 and had her first solo show in 1980. In 1988 she was awarded the Prix de Rome, and in 1991 she moved to New York City, where she was awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant. The most important exhibition from her series Letters (Cartas) takes place in 1993 at the gallery Elba Benítez in Madrid. Two years later she takes part in the First Biennal of Johannesburg. In 2001 she was the recipient of grants from the Creative Capital Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts. In 2005 she participated in a Rockefeller Foundation residency at the Bellagio Centre, Italy.

In New York her work has appeared at the New Museum, Sandra Gering Gallery, The Drawing Center, Art in General, Dieu Donné Papermill, the Wynn Kramarsky Gallery and the Josée Bienvenu Gallery, among other places. She has also presented her work at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC; Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco; the Whitney Museum of American Art at Champion; Track 16 Gallery, Los Angeles; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS), Madrid; the Museo Patio Herreriano in Valladolid and IVAM in Valencia (Spain).

Her work is included is many public and private collections in the United States and Europe, including the MoMA in New York, the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, the National Gallery in Washington, the Caja Burgos Collection and Reina Sofía Museum.

Del Rivero currently lives and works in New York.

Installation view
Letter from Home, red 1
2001-2015. Typewritten text, gouache, and thread on paper. 105.5 x 73 cm
Wound 40
2009. Thread, collage, needle, ink, and feather on Kozo Gampi Torinokoshi peper. 91.5 x 64 cm
Two Dreaming
2017. Ink, collage and thread on abaca. 25.4 x 20.32 cm
Detail view Letter to the Mother
Letter to the Mother
2017. Digital impression in silk. 240 x 99 cm
Domestic landscape with turmeric #15 #14 #13 #12 #11
2017 Gouache, thread, turmeric on vintage grapher paper 23.5 x 30 cm
Letter from home: Molly is in bed
2015. Oil on lead primed canvas with thread. 15 x 113 cm.
L'Oeil D'Ame
2008. Gold leaf on abaca paper. 198 x 198 cm.
Echo of an Unfinished Letter
1999. Installation view at IVAM Valencia, Spain. Detail. Thread, pencil, ink-jet print and ink drawing on music manuscript, 600 pages. 17,8 x 22,9 cm/each one.

Sprengel Museum Hannover

Elena del Rivero participates in “Between the Lines.Art in Letters from Niki de Saint Phalle to Joseph Beuys” from 10 May to 27 August 2017, Sprengel Museum Hannover. The exhibition is dedicating itself to the nearly lost medium of letters and postcards. The show features renowned international artists from the latter half of the 20th century whose experimental concepts innovated and expanded the creative and communicative possibilities of the correspondence.


Travesía Cuatro participate in Frieze NY, May 4-7. Artists: Elena del Rivero, Gonzalo Lebrija, Jose Dávila, Alexandre Estrela, Milena Muzquiz, Asunción Molinos Gordo and Mateo López.


Travesía Cuatro will participate in Independent Brussels. April 19 – 23 , 2017. Mateo López, Jorge Méndez Blake, Milena Muzquiz, Elena del Rivero and Alexandre Estrela.