Elena Blasco explains her current show of new work at Espacio Mínimo in Madrid emerged as a family of multiplying materials:
I made around forty small drawings in one go, very comfortably, until the tracing paper ran out, and I stopped because some of the drawings began to grow on a Korean paper and become long, like us. Others hardened into wall or floor ceramics, or multiplied and emerged as first cousins, that is, with some common “family” traits here and there. Others became very tight wool, like carpets, well rounded… or crazy, with a vocation for tapestry. Finally, some folded into billowing curtains and even transformed into rubber.
Subtitled Teviasé unosapatito delala de mi sombrero (I’m going to make you some little shoes from the brim of my hat), Blasco acknowledges the phrase is borrowed from the late flamenco singer Camarón de la Isla. She elaborates: From the brim of my hat I couldn’t make a single whole shoe, it’s “almost impossible” that I made a pair for each of you… but hey, it’s the intention, it’s a desire, to fit all of you.
Two drawings – a King and Queen – started the new series of works included in this exhibition. Both appear as works on paper, trimmed tightly as two carpets and a looser tufted diptych. Is this monarchy in ascendance, time honoured in yet another tapestry – or monarchy in decline, a source of mocking humour and place to wipe our feet? Espacio Mínimo notes, The casual and irreverent air in [Blasco’s] creations, both tactile and visual, camouflage the radical content of her work, where she questions canonical clichés and prejudices in today's society.
A number of recurring motifs appear across the exhibition. There is a bird-like silhouette often drawn with marks that resemble stitches. A striped blanket – mohair comes to mind – in red, brown, green and baby blue pops up too. And then there are the King and Queen drawn in shapes that may only make sense to American readers when I call them twinkies. The artist confirms: There is no project. But, the material… There is no story, there isn’t this or that, it is a great, growing family... they get along well, and more will come… This is the most I want to say about art, better not "shake it". Best to work and go.
Elena Blasco’s first solo exhibition at Espacio Mínimo in Madrid runs through March 18.
Text by Jessica Hemmings