1 March – 4 April 2013
Josh Lilley is delighted to present Spanish artist Beléns second exhibition at the gallery.
"After Sputnik, there is no nature, only art." (Marshall McLuhan)
Belén's work interrogates the way in which we seek to impose order on the world. She focuses on our tendency to compartmentalise and categorise, dealing with subjects such as time and measurement. For one such work, she adorned a photocopying machine with blue and red threads in order to fake lined paper and make it imprecise. Another work focused on the grid in a simple notebook, a seemingly innocuous construction, and yet also an imposing suggestion as to how we should organise our thoughts.
The Plástica Project, realised for the exhibition After Sputnik, represents Belén's recent interest in disorder, the unexpected, and the random. Inspired by the idealism of the Bauhaus movement (its fusion of arts and crafts, toys, costumes, parties, and functionality), Belén has reacted to tiny pieces of plastic found washed up on a beach in northern Spain by providing an artistic expression for the aesthetic consequences of natural phenomena.
Upon noticing the constellation of plastic pieces, Belen found that the colours and forms reflected images of the early avant-garde, and Kandinsky's paintings in particular. Bauhaus was a vital experiment of a small community of young people who, after the horrors of the first World War, embarked enthusiastically on the construction of a social utopia, and new forms of coexistence. The fusion between function and artistic production was crucial, expressed in handcrafts, costumes and performance. Likewise, toys and enjoyment were prioritised, with grand parties being a fixture of the Bauhaus School.
Belén's project is presented as a set, or the scenography of a nonexistent party, a decadent festivity full of enthusiasm. The vivid colours and materials of the found pieces of plastic echo crushed toys, or futuristic pieces of confetti. They are irregular and almost unrecognisable waste materials, like exhibits in an anthropological museum. Through watercolours on paper, mould paintings, papier maché meteorites, sculptural metronomes, and various videos and projections, Belén creates a type of modern archaeology within the gallery space, where both the harshness and beauty of her raw materials are examined and given a platform for consideration.
Belén (b. 1981, Valladolid, Spain) lives and works in Madrid and Vienna. She completed her MA at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, 2010. Previous solo exhibitions include Circa, Das Weisse Haus, Vienna, 2011; XXXXX, Galeria Parra & Romero, Madrid, 2010; Mixtilínea, Josh Lilley, London, 2010; and Kore Sore Are, Österreichisches Künstler Atelier Arakawa Ku, Tokyo, 2009. Selected group exhibitions include Reality Show, Gallerie Tiziana di Caro, Salerno, Italy, 2012; XV Biennale de la Mediterranée, representing Austria-Thessaloniki, Greece (cooperation with Axel Koschier), 2011; The Mac gyver problem, Galerie im Regierungsviertel, Berlin, 2010; and Gifted, Josh Lilley, London, 2010.