Sonia Delaunay, beyond the painting

 

 

"Flamenco Singer" 1915

 

 

 

Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979), ukrainian artist, was a key figure in parisian avant-garde. She first studied in Germany and later in Paris, where he had influences from Impressionism, Cubism and Fauvism. She experimented with Robert Delaunay, his husband, in the field of light and color, pursuing and abstract language directed toward a new art faraway from traditional habits. Together they create the Simultanism, current that focused on painting dynamism using simultaneous contrasts of colour. The artist expressed this trend both in painting and in the design of fashion, textiles and books, among others.The Delaunays associate Simultanism to modern life and urban development, and they wanted to bring it to all possible fields. Sonia claimed the importance of fashion design or decoration, equating them with painting or sculpture, in a moment when those minor arts were not valued.

 

 

 

Sonia Delaunay´s costume designs

 

 

 

The exhibition shows textile artwork together with the artist´s paintings, and underscores the period when the family lived in Madrid, city in which they settled in 1917 after I World War outbreak. The arrival in Madrid made her to approach the popular culture, above all flamenco, what she loved. After russian revolution, she no longer received an income. It was when Sonia began to design costumes for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. She designed her dresses by joining together small pieces of fabrics in different forms and textures. In parallel, she dedicated to interior decoration and, afterwards, she set up her own clothes brand and opened a shop first in Madrid and later in Paris.

 

 

 

Bal Bullier, 1913

 

 

 

Among her more relevant creations we can find her `simultaneous dresses´. The first of them was made in 1913 for Bal Bullier ballroom, and was defined by Apollinaire as `a living painting´. Sonia brings her designs on paper to canvas. It can be appreciated how flamenco culture influenced her in the `Grand Flamenco´ picture. It is also worth taking into account her designs for ballets, like the one she made for `Cleopatra´, or her dresses for film actresses, like the one she designed to Gloria Swanson.

 

 

 

Costume design for `Cleopatra´

 

 

 

Sonia Delaunay´s artwork is shown in 210 creations that belong to public institutions like the Pompidou Centre, the National Library of France, the Fashion Museum of Paris or Reina Sofía museum; as well as several private collections and the Thyssen funds, museum where it can be visited until October 10.

 

 

 

Dress designed for Gloria Swanson

 

 

 

 

 

One of the purposes of the “Art Madrid-Proyector’20” program was to offer the opportunity to get to know the work of some invited creators, and, through an interactive talk, allow the public to open a direct dialogue with them. For this reason, from February 12th to 14th, were organised three masterclasses at Medialab Prado with Patxi Araújo, Olga Diego and Lois Patiño, all authors who work with the moving image, but who approach their projects from a diametrically opposite perspective. With this agenda, we were able to discuss three essential lines of current video-creation: the fusion with technology and artificial intelligence, the shaping of performances for documentary purposes and video art with film overtones. We already had the opportunity to remember the session with Patxi Araújo and his site-specific work "Sherezade" created for the Medialab Prado façade. Today we will talk about the meeting we had with Olga Diego and Lois Patiño.

Olga diego, photo by Javier Adiego

Olga Diego’s masterclass has as title: “The flight as a creative matter”. Olga is a multidisciplinary artist who in recent years has focused her work on sculpture and performance or action art, which she later documents with photography and video. This last aspect is one of the most interesting for her when she reflects on how the transformation of the piece from an experiential format to a recorded one takes place, and how individuals have become used to consuming this class of less invasive final products, from a space of comfort that our private devices offer.

One of Olga's main lines of research is related to autonomous flight systems and the creation of artefacts capable of rising with little energy. Can one create a material lighter than air itself? This idea has led her to experiment with numerous scientific forms and concepts, as well as taking a historical journey through the beginnings of flight and the progress of humanity to invent devices capable of flying. It is not just about recovering the history of aviation, something that has a much more technological and commercial side, but to investigate the ideas, experiments and tests that analysed the behaviour of air, the dynamics of flows and the design of individual aerodynamic structures, a concern that the human being showed since the Renaissance, with Leonardo Da Vinci.

Olga Diego, photo by Mario Gutiérrez Cru

Olga recovers many of these concepts and applies them to her recent projects. In her latest proposals, she has also worked with inflatable figures, as an alternative to conducted flight, using plastic materials for its construction. Her last exhibition “The automatic garden”, which could be enjoyed at the Alicante Museum of Contemporary Art and the Lonja del Pescado Exhibition Hall, also in Alicante, is a gigantic installation made up of almost a hundred inflatable-electronic sculptures inspired by the beautiful, extravagant and suggestive characters from the Garden of Earthly Delights, by El Bosco. This cloud of humanoid and zoomorphic figures, which move and beat thanks to the electronic mechanisms that keep them permanently inflated, also portrays the excesses of man, his lack of concern for the invasion of the environment, the overexposure to plastic and the exploitation of natural resources. A composition that focuses on "sin", as an indirect message that was also conveyed in the work of El Bosco.

Masterclass of Lois Patiño. Photo by Marta Suárez-Mansilla

For his part, Lois Patiño's career is intimately connected to film work. “Time and image” was the title of his masterclass. His video pieces, whether brief or feature-long films contain a concern closely linked to film language, but on a path that leaves conventional narratives aside. Among the main motifs that occupy his work, Lois opts for more contemplative aesthetics, where the expressive power of the image itself is prioritised, without seeking too many added effects in conventional cinema through sound effects, dialogues or other devices.





This is why Lois's work is so poetic and lyrical. His proposals incorporate technological innovations to cause very concrete effects in his works, but all of this helps to delve into the issues that concern this creator and that, since his beginnings, have been present in his work.

Lois Patiño, foto de Mario Gutiérrez Cru

Lois Patiño has always been interested in the relationship of the individual with the landscape and how it can modulate our way of behaving in society and determine our idiosyncrasy. To what extent are we dependent on our environment? How is culture defined by its connection to the landscape? These and other questions plague the author's work in which many contemplative images abound.

In addition, Lois presented us in scoop the trailer for his latest feature-long film "Lúa vermella" that a few days after the masterclass was officially presented at the Berlinale - International Film Festival in Berlin 2020.