03 Feb VOLTA NEW YORK 2020
4-8th of March
At VOLTA, we are presenting a solo exhibition project by artist Conchi Álvarez, curated by herself. The display is made up of paintings and an installation based on a theme that she has been working on for many years: “The Bullfighter Ritual”.
‘The Bullfighter Ritual’ series consists of a sequence of paintings that she have been working on for several years. She have endeavored to delve into the man behind the façade of a bullfighter, exploring the traditional ritual passed down from generation to generation, to reveal the transformation behind man to bullfighter. From elaborate preparatory rituals, to the notorious duel in the bullring, a humble man turns hero, a demi-god if you will, where the concept of death is ever present.
Bullfighting is an ancient Mediterranean attraction dating back to early ritual ceremonies in Crete where men, priests and even women faced the bull. Being an artist from Spain, it is natural therefore, that she is interested in this tradition. Conchi have been fortunate enough to collaborate with two bullfighters (one now retired, Michelangelo, and another still actively working, David Galván), who both generously invited her to observe their preparatory rituals before a bullfighting performance. She was able to document their rituals step by step, watching their every move and listening to their explanations of their feelings, sensations, doubts and fears, of which they had many, before their performance in the bullring.
The ritual, almost liturgical, completely captivated the artist. With every piece of clothing that was stripped off, they would take a step closer to inner catharsis. Conducted in an isolated environment, the rite is delicate and formal, yet fuelled with emotion. It is discernibly clear that the bullfighter lucidly visualises what is to come, and somehow slips into a profound state of progressive self-absorption; any fears that he once held are completely overcome.
Using oil on canvas and acrylic on panel, She have tried to capture the moments that impacted her most when witnessing this incredible transformation from man to bullfighter.