Isabella Despujols

Isabella Despujols (Venezuela, 1994), is a young visual artist with a focus on handmade embroidery. Despujols graduated in Fine Arts from the International University of Art and Design in Miami, and holds a degree in Art History from the University of Palermo in Buenos Aires (Argentina).

Isabella's work reflects her own history, born from her earliest visual references. "My parents are architects and I grew up surrounded by geometric drawings of projects they worked on. They also collected Venezuelan artists who were based on geometric abstraction, so the first works of art I came into contact with already posed that language. For me, geometry is the basis that speaks of what my first influences were, and also of the strong tradition of these movements in my country, which grew out of great masters such as Cruz-Diez and Jesús Soto. I pay homage to both of them in my work".

For the artist, embroidery is currently her favourite discursive medium. Due to her knowledge of oil painting (she was trained in Fine Arts with a specialisation in painting) she develops a technique in which she works the embroidery as if it were painting: "I embroider layers of colours that are juxtaposed and form new colours, resulting in that chromatic degradation that is perceived in all the works".

Isabella Despujols

34, 2020

Lienzo bordado

80 x 120cm


What inspires you when you create?

When it comes to creating, there are two universes that particularly inspire me, on the one hand Kinetic Art, especially the artists Cruz Diez and Jesús Soto, and on the other hand everything that has to do with embroidery and that feminine tradition. In my family there was always this tradition of manual work, but all confined to the domestic environment and thought of those things that can be useful, such as towels, bedspreads, I always had this fascination for manual work, whether collage or painting. I began my training in Fine Arts as a painter, so I carry a bit of this legacy of working with oils, but the feeling of thread and making with thread, creating things from nothing, was something I always felt a fascination for.

Basically I combined these two universes and from there I was able to give life to the work that I have been developing for a short time, a couple of years, and which I have been perfecting over time. It's a bit like the visual project of the kinetic artist that has to do with reproducing real movements in the work, but my contribution has to do with the sensitivity that embroidery gives. I take the legacy of these artists and try to translate it with lines and the imperfections of manual work and make it so that it doesn't look like manual work, but in reality it's all done by hand through an artisanal process. My main objective, let's say, has to do with extending or expanding what we all generally know as embroidery and its characteristics, which are mainly figurative images and above all utility, the non-artistic and every day, which is found in a domestic environment, and by combining it with kinetic art I try to elevate everything that has to do with the tradition of embroidery and this craft, so that it ceases to be a craft and a work with an artistic finish can be achieved.

Isabella Despujols

Díptico, 2021

Lienzo bordado

100 x 200cm

What are you working on recently?

My most recent work are two works here in the background, in which the main elements are spheres. I've always felt a fascination with geometry and in fact it's a visual language that I'm quite close to, because my parents are architects, and I grew up with this visual reference to geometry, straight lines, planes, three-dimensionality. Here I try to achieve through a composition, achieved by circles, a work that wants to create a movement through the juxtaposition of different colors and how through the embroidery of different colors, new tones are created in our eye, and this gradient effect emerges. Basically, my current work has to do mainly with the study of color and the new possibilities that can arise through embroidery.

Isabella Despujols

48, 2021

Lienzo bordado

100 x 100cm

Tell us about your creative process

My work process is inspired by oil painting, I first start by painting the background in a homogeneous colour, because my idea is to highlight the embroidered work. The way I embroider emulates the process of oil painting, I first start by applying a first layer of a single colour with the embroidery and then I add layers of colours, it is a very gradual work. It is precisely this process of embroidering different layers of colours with the threads that generates the kinetic effect that I want to achieve in my work.

What do you expect from Art Madrid?

I'm very excited to be able to participate for the first time in Art Madrid and I think that this contact with the public and this exchange that takes place with the public that approaches the work is very enriching for me. My idea, or what I would like, is to be able to show my work for the second time in Madrid and for people to connect with my proposal and for them to get to know a little about other possibilities that can be done with embroidery.

How did you start working on your latest works?

At the beginning when I started my approach to embroidery, one of my first references was a Mexican tablecloth that a Mexican friend had given me, she knew that I was very interested in the technique. I remember it was a tablecloth with geometric shapes and extremely colorful, one of the approaches I wanted to take was to be inspired a little by these synthetic shapes that are typical of Mesoamerican, pre-Columbian embroidery and to see how I could develop my own technique. I found myself by imitating and copying these figures until, well, I started to separate myself from the figuration of Mesoamerican embroidery and developed my own technique, which is what I am currently working on. Those looms were a very important reference for me, especially when I was beginning this project of combining painting with embroidery.

Isabella Despujols participates for the first time in Art Madrid with the Brazilian gallery Jackie Shor Arte, together with the artists Aline Sancovsky, Nathalie Cohen and Osvaldo González.

The seventeenth edition of Art Madrid, which was held in the Galería de Cristal of the Palacio de Cibeles from 23 to 27 February, closed its 17th edition with more than 16,000 visitors, a similar figure prior to the pandemic. The fair was attended by, among others: Andrea Levy, Delegate for Culture, Tourism, and Sport of Madrid City Council; Begoña Villacís, Deputy Mayoress of Madrid City Council; several Ambassadors; representatives of museums from all over Spain; and heads of important national and international collections.

Photo by Christian Monsalve from Too Many Flash

Alberto Cornejo, director of ART MADRID, says: "We are very satisfied with the results of this edition. After these years of uncertainty due to the pandemic, we are happy to see that the public and collectors continue to respond to the fair with the same enthusiasm as in previous years". And he adds: "It is interesting to note that sales at this edition have been very important, which means a remarkable dynamization of the Spanish art market". In this respect, it is worth noting that our VIP program of advice for collectors, directed by Ana Suárez Gisbert, has been a great success, providing a service to experienced collectors and generating new buyers.

Photo by Maria Astorga from Too Many Flash

The selection of 35 galleries at ART MADRID'22 was made up of: 3 Punts Galeria (Barcelona), Alba Cabrera Gallery (Valencia), Arena Martínez Projects (Madrid), Art Lounge Gallery (Lisbon), ARTITLEDcontemporary (Herpen), Aurora Vigil-Escalera (Gijón), Collage Habana (La Habana), DDR Art Gallery (Madrid), Dr. Robot Gallery (Valencia), FLECHA (Madrid), Galería BAT alberto cornejo (Madrid), Galería de la Bálgoma (Madrid), Galería Espiral (Noja), Galería Hispánica Contemporánea (Madrid-Mx DF), Galería Jorge Alcolea (Madrid), Galería Kreisler (Madrid), Galería La Aurora (Murcia), Galería Luisa Pita (Santiago de Compostela), Galeria São Mamede (Lisbon), Galerie Alex Serra (Köln), Galerie LJ (Paris), GÄRNA Art Gallery (Madrid), Helarea (Madrid), Inéditad (Barcelona), Jackie Shor Arte (São Paulo), Kur Art Gallery (San Sebastián), MA Arte Contemporáneo (Palma), Marita Segovia (Madrid), Moret Art (A Coruña), Nuno Sacramento (Ílhavo), Rodrigo Juarranz (Aranda de Duero), Shiras Galería (Valencia), Studija Mindiuzarte/Kaunas (Kaunas), Víctor Lope Arte Contemporáneo (Barcelona), Yiri Arts (Taipei).

Photo by Maria Astorga from Too Many Flash

The Fair consolidates the proposal "One Shot Collectors", an initiative that encompasses a collecting program directed by the advisor Ana Suárez Gisbert and the curatorial route ICONOSFERA, coordinated for the second consecutive year by the critic and independent curator Natalia Alonso Arduengo. Regarding this initiative, Gabriela Correa and Nuria Blanco, directors of the Kreisler (Madrid) and Moret Art (A Coruña) galleries respectively, both veterans of the fair, point out that the collectors' program is a very beneficial service that helps to boost sales during the fair and even in the days following the fair.

The Parisian gallery LJ Galerie, in its second year at the fair, makes a positive balance of its participation. Its director, Adeline Jeudy affirms that on the first day of the fair they already sold an important piece by Léo Caillard (the artist whose work was the image of the poster for this edition), and some works to new collectors. "The fair has a large number of visitors, an interesting public that is very open to buying works at a considerable price and by artists who are little known in Spain. We have also noticed the presence of an amateur public that is very interested in the work of the artists we present".

The Brazilian gallery Jackie Shor, participating for the first time in Art Madrid, also obtained good results in terms of sales. All the works presented at the stand by their youngest artist, Isabella Despujols, were sold. Most of the sales were made to local or foreign clients residing in Madrid. Moreover, its directors comment that "Art Madrid is a fair that attracts a diverse public profile, and that is very interesting".

Photo by Maria Astorga from Too Many Flash

DDR Art Gallery (Madrid), sold works by the four artists in its exhibition proposal. The gallery sold two large pieces by the Venezuelan artist Roger Sanguino, both of which will form part of two very important collections in Spain. The acquisition of two of the "avatars" by the artist Roberto López Martín, also by renowned collectors, and the great interest generated by the work "Los refugiados en las Meninas de Velázquez", by the photographer David Delgado Ruiz, also stand out.

Photo by Maria Astorga from Too Many Flash

This edition featured more than 190 national and international artists, including young artists such as the Russian Costa Gorelov (Dr.Robot Gallery) and the Portuguese Carolina Serrano (Alex Serra Galerie), and other mid-career artists such as Kepa Garraza (Víctor Lope Arte Contemporáneo) and Juana González (Arena Martínes Projects), both national artists.

ART MADRID has been sponsored by One Shot Hotels, Liquitex and Catawiki; and with the collaboration of the Proyector platform; 9915. Contemporary Art Collectors Association; and the photographic entrepreneurship school Too Many Flash.