Algodón naranja en la bella sombra
Solo show, Galería Alarcón Criado, Seville (SP)
23 Nov 2019 - 23 Jan 2020
For the first time Alarcón Criado will present the works of Belén Rodríguez through her latest exhibition Algodón naranja en la bella sombra. The show highlights the historical importance of Seville in overseas trade and puts focus on the palpable cultural hybridisation in textile productions; the round-trip journeys with manufactured goods, which were a cultural legacy for centuries, in the south of the peninsula. Islamic air strapwork, vegetal abstractions and iconographies of very diverse origin are brought together in this exhibition. The artist had explored new technical resources when addressing the research for this show.
“It is difficult to unlink the influences that make up a culture, as it is to untie a tightly armed fabric. The word algodón (cotton) came to our culture through the Arab world and composes the landscape around Seville.
Bitter orange (naranja) was the first to reach the peninsula, centuries before the sweet orange or tangerine appeared. Time was given to the naming of a colour referred to by metonymy. From its Sanskrit origin, it had to pass to Persian, and from Persian to Arabic before arriving in Spain in the Middle Ages.
Bella Sombra (beuatiful shade) is the informal name with which the gorgeous Ombú tree that is planted at the gates of the Andalusian Centre for Contemporary Art in Seville is also known. It is said that Hernando, the son of Columbus, planted it more than five hundred years ago.
Leafing through a book about textiles of the world, I find a 17th-century Peruvian tapestry that belongs to the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Its peculiarity is in the tremendous miscegenation it represents. It was assembled by Andean weavers in the traditional way, but their motives bring together the three great influences that arose as a result of the Manila galleons; native fables, imaginary Asian animals, scenes from the Old Testament, hunters, shepherds, caryatids holding cornucopias, the Phoenix and the lotus flower.
Like the Manila shawl, which is said to be Mexican after its Chinese origin - our cultural elements have gone through paths difficult to decompose to become what they are: the seated fringes on the Chinese embroidery silks come from North Africa.
The exhibition unravels, pictorial and sculpturally, essential cultural ingredients, in clear reference to the textile world. Cottons, silks, fringes, fans, remnants of recycled tie-dyed textiles from my own works. Pictures in which strips of fabric are crossed that remind us of both a coffered ceiling, such as a kimono, a mummy, the structure of a palm tree, or the composition of a fabric through the microscope”.