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  PILAR ALBARRACÍN
Curator: Rosa Martínez
Reales Atarazanas. Sevilla.
From September 16th to October 31st. 2004
   

Pilar Albarracín is one of the most significant artists of the contemporary Andalusian scene. Her productions have focused on the analysis of dominant narratives and, specifically, on the clichés which represent Andalusian identity; not from a remote
and intellectualised perspective, but through an emotional and subversive immersion in the anthropology of the everyday.
Folklore and popular traditions, food rituals, religious myths, and women’s role in the distribution of power or collective festivals such as bullfighting, are critically distorted in the mirror of her reflections. Many of her works have a hypnotic rhythm which grows until it reaches a moment of ecstasy. Then the spectator suddenly awakens ‘with a revelation or a thud’ snapping them out of their intellectual and sensorial slumber and forcing them to call into question their preconceptions.


Pilar Albarracín is one of the most significant artists of the contemporary Andalusian scene. Her productions have focused on the analysis of dominant narratives and, specifically, on the clichés which represent Andalusian identity; not from a remote and intellectualised perspective, but through an emotional and subversive immersion in the anthropology of the everyday. Folklore and popular traditions, food rituals, religious myths, and women’s role in the distribution of power or collective festivals such as bullfighting, are critically distorted in the mirror of her reflections. Many of her works have a hypnotic rhythm which grows until it reaches a moment of ecstasy. Then the spectator suddenly awakens ‘with a revelation or a thud’ snapping them out of their intellectual and sensorial slumber and forcing them to call into question their preconceptions.

In all her performances, it is Albarracín herself who personifies the female characters that transform her into a peasant, an immigrant, a battered woman, housewife, flamenco dancer or singer. By putting her personal energy on the line she becomes fully involved in her multiple personalities. From her early interventions such as Sin título. (Sangre en la calle) [Untitled. Blood in the Street] (1992), which featured women thrown out onto the streets of Seville after having suffered some bloody incident, to more recent works such as viva España [Long Live Spain] (2004), which takes place in the streets and squares of Madrid, an unquestionable desire to integrate conscious and unconscious, feeling and reason, body and soul, private and public, runs through Pilar Albarracín’s creations. This is why she plays with the surprise factor and gives interactive installations or improvised performances that are put forward as shock therapy in order to bring out collective demons.

Through her stagings, she focuses on the woman as the repository for commands of submission and explores the different facets of a specific situation of economic and social development in Andalusia, in Spain and, by extension, in the manifold contemporary combats between tradition and modernity. There are several works by Pilar Albarracín that focus on folklore and, specifically, on flamenco, which has been, and remains, an artistic way of expressing the social pain of a people. Most important among them are Prohibido el cante (Singing Prohibited), that was performed in the year 2000, and Muro de jilgueros (Goldfinch Wall), a wall installation created specifically for her exhibition at the Reales Atarazanas in Seville in 2004. If singing gives voice to sorrows, dance connects the body to the rhythms which interweave eroticism and death. Dancing is a way ‘to step outside oneself’ which can be beautifully codified in choreographies and geometries or brings out the shapeless movements that liberate what is repressed, as La cabra [The Goat] (2001) and Bailaré sobre tu tumba [I Will Dance on your Grave] (2004) show.

Artistically, Albarracín’s productions question the absolutist pretensions of minimalism as a hegemonic language and do not subject themselves to the anglosaxon mainstream. Her work connects with the poetics of excess which the baroque, kitsch or pop represent and link up with a Spanish tradition of criticism which contains Goya’s enlightened positions and Valle Inclán’s theatre of the grotesque. Her work reflects the flash of madness, understood as a form of lucidity, and destabilises false identities. It is imbued with a generosity which conceives the work, not as a documentary transcription of what exists, but as a form of
production of thought and life, as a gift which needs a reply from the other, to whom direct or indirect requests are being made for new forms of action, love and conscience, or, in other words, involvement.

Rosa Martínez
Curator of the exhibition