> Los suelos, 2013

Los suelos, Galería Casado Santapau

Los suelos brings together sculptural elements and a two-channel video, which together explore transformative processes of the rural landscape, as well as cycles of changes of the vernacular culture that emerge through modernization. Copper emerges as a theme between the works – a material that carries symbolic, historic and political relationships.

Reminiscent of minimalist works, particularly the metal floor pieces by Carl Andre, La Trama represents a woven matt. Traditionally fabricated with straw or reed, this work has been manufactured employing thin strips of copper. Moving away from the characteristics of minimalism where the precision of the industrial finish and modular elements, La Trama presents the material as part of an interrelated system. In the weave the warmth that characterizes the artisanal work is reflected, projecting a history and a social context. The use of copper as raw material to discuss traditional forms of labour, suggests a re-appropriation of natural resources, acquiring a symbolic dimension. The physical properties of the copper, from its conductivity, malleability, to its ability to form a ‘shape memory’ alloy (a metal that return to it’s original shape when exposed to certain conditions) are poetically linked to cultural memory, as seen in the artisanal practices of diverse eras that have made use of the metal’s special physical properties.

In the video yacimientos (mineral deposit / archeological site), the association of images talks about the abandonment of the rural space and its ways of life. The remains of the traditional culture gradually become extinguished, while an immense open pit mine in the middle of the city eats away the town from the inside. Visually evoking some elliptical ruins of astronomical temples or agricultural terraces, this involuntary formal and sculptural earthworks into the earth erase the local history, and herald a new era characterized by the growing demand of copper on the global market where it is highly valued for electrical and technological uses. The hybrid architecture of the city (buildings with coloured reflecting glass beside crumbled adobe walls) show the disjunction between the drive for accelerated growth through the exploitation of resources, and the ecological problems it brings, and the necessity to preserve memory and history of a place.