Solo exhibition of Astrid Sommer, curated by Conchi Alvarez
Astrid Sommer’s fourth solo exhibition which is undoubtedly the artist’s most intimate and personal at STOA.
On this occasion, it is surprising to see that the gallery has been transformed into a clothesline. The exhibit consists of only four artworks, of great size, made recently and specifically for this occasion. They are made through a new technique, acrylic on plastic, and the signs and spots that cover the entire “plastic” space shape the customary “horror vacui” that characterizes her paintings. These titles are frequent for this author, all of a single word. But what is new and significant is that Astrid, with these four pieces, has shown us her laundry, her intimacy and, beyond that “plastic clothing” that is each painting, she invites us, quoting Carmen Florentín, “to look within, towards the interior of all things, even within the simplest and most common of things” such as hanging clothes.
And this has happened precisely now, when we are limited to our movements, confined within the walls of our houses. Now is when the artist’s soul appears, as the poet Claudio Rodríguez quotes in his poem “To the laundry on my clothes line (referring to the soul)”
“(…) ¡Ved mi ropa,
mi aposento de par en par! ¡Adentro
con todo el aire y todo el cielo encima! (…)”
It´s now when Astrid gives shape and colour to the delicious poem from the Zamorano writer, and how he, in the words of his student, Carmen Florentín, “takes us from the interior to the exterior, from the abstract to the concrete, from the sublime to the everyday”, and if washing is writing poetry, well then for Astrid, washing is painting. And just like for the poet, “the clothes keep in their interior, time and the ideal language, that of creation”, for the Mexican, these plastic clothes also enclose the key to her creation.
It is also in these moments when actions that we perform almost mechanically on a daily basis are taking centre stage, and due to the reduction in mobility, and the slowing down of time, we are discovering them and becoming very much aware of them. We have started to see and look at the little things that make up our daily universe with different eyes, like washing and hanging our clothes. Astrid´s artwork proposes that we should now, without any hurry, slowly make our own performance out of our laundry, in which each piece is a measure of an inaudible aquatic symphony. And once the clothes are hung, we can stop to admire the result, and evaluate the achieved plastic effect. And we will make a promise to ourselves to be more creative in our next peg out. No doubt we will look at our clothes hanging…. to reflect and achieve a deep catharsis, and perhaps, commit ourselves to a radical change. But since we are human after all, we will observe everyone else´s clothes! Without a shadow of a doubt, we will dissect, compare, criticize or envy others laundry and we will verify that the neighbourhood’s patio has become a collective display of emerging values and we, pro curators: “How well hung that of the artist from apartment 3C”, “What expensive clothes apartment 2A has”, “How embarrassing are the worn out and old clothes belonging to apartment 4B , he could spend less on beers and more on replenishing his socks! “…. And then our partner reproaches us with a “There are clothes hanging!” and thus, the accurate artistic criticism and our curatorial career will come to an end.
1-Dialnet. La materia etérea de Claudio Rodríguez. Autora: Carmen Florentín Gimeno. Pág. 113
Me la están refregando, alguien la aclara.
¡Yo que desde aquel día
la eché a lo sucio para siempre, para
ya no lavarla más, y me servía!
¡Si hasta me está más justa¡ No la he puesto
pero ahí la veis todos, ahí, tendida,
ropa tendida al sol. ¿Quién es? ¿Qué es esto?
¿Qué lejía inmortal, y qué perdida
jabonadura vuelve, qué blancura?
Como al atardecer el cerro es nuestra ropa
desde la infancia, más y más oscura
y ved la mía ahora. ¡Ved mi ropa,
mi aposento de par en par! ¡Adentro
con todo el aire y todo el cielo encima!
¡Vista la tierra tierra! ¡Más adentro!
¡No tenedla en el patio: ahí, en la cima,
ropa pisada por el sol y el gallo,
por el rey siempre!
He dicho así a media alba
porque de nuevo la hallo,
de nuevo al aire libre sana y salva.
Fue en el río, seguro, en aquel río
donde se lava todo, bajo el puente.
Huele a la misma agua, a cuerpo mío.
¡Y ya sin mancha! ¡Si hay algún valiente,
que se la ponga! Sé que le ahogaría.
Bien sé que al pie del corazón no es blanca
pero no importa: un día…
¡Qué un día, hoy, mañana que es la fiesta!
Mañana todo el pueblo por las calles
y la conocerán, y dirán: «Esta
es su camisa, aquella, la que era
sólo un remiendo y ya no le servía.
¿Qué es este amor? ¿Quién es su lavandera?»
De Conjuros (1958)