La habitación de al lado. Carmen Calvo
Following her recent major show at the IVAM and prior to an upcoming retrospective at the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, Carmen Calvo returns to our gallery to present La habitación de al lado (The Room Next Door), an exhibition of new work that takes over the first three rooms of our main space, offering us a walkthrough through her personal gaze.
Here the artist surprises us once again with a subtly autobiographical project, which takes on particular meaning in Oro y redondo: del mediodía! (Gold and Round: From Noon!) an installation that recalls a family tradition in which she and her father dried orange peels in the sun to later throw them on the fire and scent the family home. Replicating a large clothes dryer in one of the rooms, where the organic material plays an instrumental role in determining the transformative capacity of the work over the passing of the days, Carmen Calvo gives shape to a childhood memory in a tangible yet ephemeral fashion.
Memory is unquestionably the underpinnings on which her prolific work rests, always from an experimental angle, always alive and in constant change. Based on an archaeological vision of objects and images, the artist appropriates these `archives´, only to deconstruct, resignify and recompose them to create an unmistakeable personal language all of her own, laying down a solid discourse on universal issues such as religion, education, love and sex. Leveraging the legacy of surrealism, her works bring together the power of objects with a fundamental demand for the spectator to adopt a critical gaze.
As Rafael Gil contends, “Indeed, Carmen Calvo surrenders her materials to the imagination of the viewer, who must discover the meaning of her art. The artist actualises these expressions through her personal vision of the present, of her thought and of her concerns and anxieties, which are those shared by all human beings, and which Calvo turns into inspirational and highly evocative artworks. Her heavily nuanced oeuvre is a constant search for the self whose complexity lies not so much in finding its correct meaning as in allowing oneself to be seduced by its interplay of images…”*
Guided by her intuition and the life drive itself, in this exhibition Calvo builds an atlas of possible memories, in which the image is the thread running through it, guiding us along an intimate narrative and, like all her work, undertaking an examination of the present and the construction of memory as an anthropological, collective, critical and existential act.
* Rafael Gil, Carmen Calvo: Pensar la pintura. Premi Julio González 2022. IVAM p.153..