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Serene and firm as wood, 2024

Solo show, Galería Alarcón Criado, Seville (Spain)


Interior, landscape


I traverse Belén Rodríguez’s works like one takes a stroll through a forest, through the mountains. I breathe in the colors, caress the barks, taste the fruits, synchronize with the rustling and let my feet sink into the soft and thick mantle in which the limits between oneself, the ground and the subsoil are blurred. I sense her forest, the one that runs through her, greener, moister and lusher: a fine rain like breath that bursts and weaves the canvas in its warm rawness. Thread, cut, stitch, fold. Here, we are invited to look from within and through, allowing the landscape to decide if it infiltrates our bodies, just as the walnut tree decides when to offer its fruit. A landscape that fills our space, our routines and the fluttering of our eyes that, between tired and vibrant, continue to seek for rest, for the inspiring and abundant obsession captured by the glass that frames it.


A serene and steadfast creator, Belén possesses an innate ability to play and weave with familiar materials, some she knows well and others she is close to, harmonizing them with a manual skill inseparable from childhood. Writing in the presence of her pieces takes me to a quiet place, to the heart of an exhibition that is arranged like a house, her own, with its habits and belongings, its pulsation and temperature, its light and darkness. The family home is not concealed or relegated, but rather, it is placed at the center of life, thereby restoring the dignity it deserves. From the home, as from nature, we come; we belong to it, and it is what sustains the world: the inside and the outside, the obverse and the reverse. The home is a fertile ground for imagination, invention, and play: from it, the child can travel to almost any place, often accompanied by the most mundane elements they manage to gather. Simplicity here contains complexity.


Inhabiting that simplicity becomes a complex task in the world we live in, hence the need for an artistic practice that navigates with ease between material restraint and joyful delight, measured austerity, a plastic delicacy verging on the extreme, and a daring firmness. Fantasy, woven in an explosion of precise particles and die-cuttings, is not at odds with a vivid sense of having been here before, perhaps because what unfolds here is life itself pulsating tirelessly: a life attuned to the rhythms and feelings of others, with its own time and environment, deserving, therefore, to be lived with dedication. In times of collapse like the present, Belén embraces a critical optimism, necessary, and seeks a certain sense of «well-being», of bringing things to a more manageable scale for our weary bodies. And she does so discreetly, without generating too much noise, like someone exhaling a hum that must be tuned to the vibration of the world. In this non-spectacularization lies her commitment, as well as in the urgency of holding on today to what is valuable and ephemeral, to the small vicissitudes and everyday joys, to the true abundance that springs from bodily knowledge and shared time.


This is her declaration of love and gratitude towards a territory compelled to constant adaptation and towards the living and inert elements that accompany her in her journey. Belén has been given a landscape because that is what the landscape wanted. And she, conscious of it, embraces it, receives it, surrenders to the transience and beauty of its absolute present. With this exhibition, her second solo show at Alarcón Criado Gallery, she shares with us a piece of her home, which is her way of being in the world: a space and time that are not conclusive but open to unforeseen possibilities offered by a child’s play with loose pieces and the countless stories that awaken in the warmth of a fire, around a table. We are sitting, while outside the sun begins to set, and moisture is poised to soak everything, the leaves and the bones: we are not alone, lately, we never are; it depends on us how much we allow ourselves to be permeated by this intensive here and now, which is already tomorrow.


Beatriz Alonso

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