SYMBOLOGY AND GOLD LEAF IN MARÍA JOSÉ GALLARDO

Visiting the work of María José Gallardo is, at times, like entering a second-hand market, finding a space between its shelves and collecting the strangest things, most connected with the dark side of religion and death. Incomplete tarot decks, unpaired earrings, faded metal boxes, cracked photos, crosses and skulls, make up a sample of dissonant elements that, in the work of this artist, acquire meaning and entity. It is an invitation to an initiatory journey, a way that confronts us with an unexplored part of our minds and that often wakes up before the vividness of a memory.

Mariajosé Gallardo

El templo de las estrellas, 2017

Oil, enamel on canvas

81 x 65cm

Mariajosé Gallardo

Catedral, 2016

Oil, enamel, gold leaf on canvas

100 x 81cm

Her artistic proposal is based on a mixture of styles that plays with the misunderstanding and the multiple possibilities of painting, such as her work "You may not be luminous, but you are a conductor of light" where pixelated vegetable motifs are identified, which could seem a blur cross-stitch embroidery or a 17th-century tapestry framed between scrolls of gilded wood. His pieces rarely include a single element. They are presented as allegories of the complexity of human thought itself, of the warp of ideas and sensations that link us with the object reality of our environment, and which the artist represents with an aesthetic that feeds on Rococo and Horror Vacui, on the Baroque religious imagery and contemporary illustration based on sharp contrasts and angular contours.

Mariajosé Gallardo

1917, 2017

Oil, enamel, gold leaf on canvas

100 x 81cm

Mariajosé Gallardo

Coco III, 2017

Óleo, esmalte, pan de plata / lienzo

100 x 81cm

Although throughout her career María José has worked on several proposals with different and even risky themes, such as the series dedicated to Hitler and Nazism, an essential aspect of her work is the presence of the symbol. It is that element capable of condensing immaterial values that the social-individual attributes to the object. Many of her works recover those meanings, which go from the esoteric to the earthly, from the connections with religious beliefs to their projection on more mundane and materialistic aspects such as representations of power, wealth or social position. María José addresses these issues, respecting to a large extent the traditional depiction of these spheres, which preserve their particular aesthetic and whose artistic tradition goes back to the beginnings of iconography (religious or not) in the West. For this reason, the recourse to gold leaf and the reproduction of spaces of worship, such as cathedrals or temples, has a deep connection with spirituality and the way in which the collectives have transferred this spirituality to tangible reality.

Mariajosé Gallardo

Mascota. Cuervo, 2017

Oil, enamel, gold leaf on canvas

46 x 38cm

Mariajosé Gallardo

Mascota. Gato, 2017

Oil, enamel, gold leaf on canvas

46 x 38cm

The works of the exhibition "In the enchanted forest" are a catalogue of magical beings, those who inhabit the usual corners of fairy tales and who make their appearance among branches of flowers and rays of light. But true to her style, María José displays all her pictorial potential in these pieces, which do not hide a dark side that faces the hackneyed "happy-ending". A narrative is thus constructed closer to the original story of Brothers Grimm. Her proposal looks at us frankly and offers a less truculent and real vision of the history in which we are all invited to participate.

 

Thirteen years have passed since its beginnings, and in all this time the Video Art Festival PROYECTOR has grown and consolidated its position as an essential event in this discipline. Since its inception, the initiative has tried to give visibility to a discipline that has always been relegated to the background in the usual exhibition circuits. Although video creation is not new, since it emerged by its own in the 60s of last century, the way to get to know it and enjoy it has not always been easy. On many occasions, the exhibitions only included a few isolated pieces within the main route, as if the video was the anecdotal contribution to the whole. However, our daily lives are invaded by moving images, and there is a paradox that video art, despite being a format of artistic expression very much in tune with the habits of today's society, remains a minority discipline

Frame from “Hel City”, by Gregorio Méndez Sáez, 2019

To some extent, PROYECTOR was born to reverse this situation, to value video as a creative format and to offer a wide, itinerant space to host a multitude of proposals, coming from inside and outside our borders. In this time, the growth of the festival has led it to travel the world, but also, to be a benchmark that each year arouses more interest. In the open call to receive proposals, they reach almost half a thousand, and a hundred works selected by the jury are a representative sample of different ways of understanding video creation, with pieces mainly from Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

In turn, PROYECTOR wants to be more than a video showcase and offers a large program with talks, workshops, masterclasses, meetings with artists, visits and concerts. A complete experience that always has the moving image as a backdrop.

El Instante Francisco Ruiz de Infante. El bosque que se mueve (errores de medida)

In this evolution, another circumstance stands out: video is a creative format that has its own codes, but it is also one of the disciplines most open to artistic hybridization and the widening of uses. The video may, therefore, be the genuine idea of an author who conceives an autonomous project to be carried out in this format, but it can also be the complementary result of an action or the documentary record of a previous performance being recorded to guarantee its survival. The versatility of the moving image and the potential that it has acquired in recent years allows us today to speak of numerous branches of art that focus on the fusion of languages and the integration of techniques and methodologies from other sectors, and in many of them, the video is still a cornerstone. So it is with technological art, interactive sound art, performance recording, the transformation from big data to image, artificial intelligence, and a long etcetera. Precisely for this reason, PROYECTOR offers a panoramic vision of this reality, with an extremely interesting program that plays with the variety and wealth of proposals.

Frame from “Herdança”, by Thiago Rocha Pitta, 2007

The 2020 edition will run from September 9th to 20th. As usual, the program displays in various venues throughout the city of Madrid, each of which will house a small section of the activities. This year the festival will count with the collaboration of the Casa Árabe, White Lab, Cruce, El Instante Fundación, ¡ésta es una PLAZA!, Extensión AVAM (Matadero Madrid), Institut Français de Madrid, Medialab Prado, Quinta del Sordo, Sala Alcalá 31, Sala El Águila, Secuencia de Inútiles and White Lab, in addition to the collaboration of the INELCOM Collection and the video art collection of Teresa Sapey.

The festival is also the ideal place to articulate the cultural fabric, since it involves numerous professionals in the sector, from curators to creators, from centres managers to critics and teachers. The 2020 program also has the collaboration of the FUSO Festival and the Museo Reina Sofía, which are providing some of their pieces for the exhibition.

In short, an appointment that lovers of contemporary art should not miss and that promises many novelties in this 13th edition.