Bajo el cielo de la noche. Elisa Pardo Puch
Nobody has been seen near that door for over five years. Five years in which that lock has barely been touched. She had always imagined what was on the other side but it was only that: pure imagination. For decades it housed a small clandestine sewing workshop which served as a refuge for women who used yarns and fabrics to build parallel universes, private worlds that others had made their own. She was obsessed by that way of making compositions in which different colours were coupled together automatically. Blue alongside black, green next to yellow, orange with purple and so on, one after another.
The end results were enormous patchwork surfaces that reminded Elisa Pardo Puch (Madrid, 1988) of the way her grandmothers used to recycle scraps of fabrics leftover after making other clothes. The work of this artist is the consequence of making connections with her surrounding environs and with her own reality, as if it were some kind of remembered anecdote, grounding her work in her own life; while in earlier exhibitions like Recoger semillas, tejer un gorro (Collect Seeds, Knit a Hat, 2020) she collected the stones of fruit eaten by members of her family and in La Espera (The Wait, 2022), a number of papaya-like ceramic sculptures recalled the experience of a trip to Baja California, in this newly produced show called Bajo el cielo de la noche (Under the Night Sky, 2023), the artist has conceived, on one hand, a large installation called La noche (The Night), which features her signature compositions handmade in plastic that, similar to textile recycling, parasitize the walls, covering them like a huge blanket. Through a psychic mechanism of the association of ideas, this everyday domestic element brings to mind a sofa, cold and winter and, by means of the bonds between idea and representation (concept-symbol) that dwell in the consciousness as the result of sensory perception, the artist even pairs it with the night which, at once, she uses as a pretext to speak of dreams and fantasies. In this patchwork quilt she once again makes use of the triangle and the square as the basic repetitive forms of geometric patterns, reminiscent of the weaving of Anni Albers or Teresa Lanceta, at once coupled with cycles and elements gleaned from nature. A patchwork that could be viewed as a painterly fabric that confirms the artist’s interest in visual language as an alternative form of communication. The installation is paired with a series of drawings called El sueño (Sleep), made at the supposedly unproductive moment of the feverish state, which depict organic figures with undulating rounded strokes reminiscent of the naturalezas vivas (living still lifes) which Maruja Mallo made in the 1940s after a trip to Valparaíso, that take her closer to the vicinity of surrealism. With this series, Elisa Pardo evinces the consummate drawing technique with which she deploys a whole succession of technical resources characterized by precise detailed pencil work.
As we can see, the use of poor, found or waste elements is another signature feature of Elisa Pardo Puch’s production. Her experimentation with different materials, focusing on time and their use purpose, has led her now to focus on the night as a space of fantasy. In collecting stones and using sticks, twigs and scraps of cloth she manages to give things new uses through a process of ongoing dialogue with everything that surrounds her as it unfolds this narrative of forms, memory and life where the night is the beginning of everything.