Cristina Lucas, "Subjects in mirror are closer than they appear", tegenboschvanvreden.
Until 31 October, the exhibition "Subjects in mirror are closer than they appear" by conceptual artist Cristina Lucas will be on show in tegenboschvanvreden. The work of this Spanish artist often deals with power relations and the underlying political, social, cultural and economic mechanisms. These elements also determine, for example, whose version of history is recorded, a narrative that is often at odds with the “real” stories and collective memory, a contradiction that Lucas likes to expose in all its complexity. Lucas is critical in her work about the dominance of the West, the position of women and the ways in which people try to dominate nature. Her multidisciplinary practice includes installations, video works, performances, sculptures, photos and drawings.
Cristina Lucas, The People That Is Missing, 2019, tegenboschvanvreden.
Lucas's most recent work, which is currently on display in tegenboschvanvreden, focuses on the disrupted relationship between human and nature. The most striking work in the exhibition is the projection of the video "The People That Is Missing" (2019), which is beautifully reflected in what most resembles a broken ice floe or an ice shelf. The video shows images of the place where the effects of global warming become most painfully clear: at the North Pole and in Spitsbergen in Norway. The title of the work refers to a quote by Paul Klee and should be read as a call for cooperation and perhaps even a revolution to save the world from an ever-worsening climate crisis. At the same time, the scotch also shows our own reflection, forcing us to think about our own part in this global problem. The abstract paintings on the wall hide an interesting material: for these works she made use of the matter that makes up the human body, including carbon, phosphorus, calcium and iron. The viewer's realisation is that we ultimately consist of the same elements as nature itself. It is a beautiful and urgent appeal to enter into a healthier relationship with nature.
Cristina Lucas, Composition “Environment Is Us”, Istvan Kenyeres., 2020, tegenboscvhvanvreden.
Lucas likes to provoke with her activist work, which often also has an aesthetic and humorous layer. Her most famous works are perhaps the photos she took for the series “Desnudo en el Prado” (2012) (“Nude in the Prado”), for which she took pictures of naked women who were assuming the same poses as the famous nudes on the walls of the museum. In doing so, especially without permission of the museum, she breaks certain social conventions, but at the same time, she lays bare the underlying hypocrisy and power relations. In her video work "Habla" (2008), we see Lucas attacking a reproduction of Michelangelo's "Moses" (1515) with a chisel, while repeatedly shouting "Habla" ("Speak!"). Moses is the father of the three largest monotheistic religions: religions that legitimise a certain hierarchy based on gender within our society, even to this day. Lucas effectively attacks male hegemony in a physical way, lamenting their power within the arts in particular. The action was inspired by the Hungarian-Australian geologist László Toth, who destroyed Michelangelo's original (!) Pietà statue with a hammer in 1972.
Cristina Lucas, ‘Habla’ (2008), tegenboschvanvreden.
Lucas often knows how to tell a powerful story, using simple, yet commanding images. For her video installation “Unending Lightning’” (2015-), which is now part of the collection of Museum Arnhem, she collected over 7 hours of video that show air raids that have been carried out all over the world since 1912. An onscreen counter shows a staggering and quickly growing number of victims. The work was also on display at Manifesta 12. When her work was shown at the 2010 Liverpool Biennial, Lucas invited Liverpool unionists to throw stones at a former factory that relocated all labour to low-wage countries, which resulted in mass unemployment at the time.
The exhibition "Subjects in mirror are closer than they appear" will be on show until October 31 in tegenboschvanvreden in Amsterdam.