Patricia Esquivias goes back to the history of buildings located at numbers 111-119 Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid,which used to be called Avenida del Generalísimo. They were built in the late fifties when Franco’s regime was beginning to open up. In architecture this meant leaving behind Academicism and opting for a style more in step with the basic principles of Modernism, as well as being understood as a tool for the construction of the collective imaginary: a new country to be discovered by its inhabitants and by the rest of the world. In this regard, architects played a critical role, becoming both clients and patrons of other artists, painters and sculptors who they commissioned to decorate the majority of buildings in this period.In fact, one of the main intellectual debates of the time was the role that the arts were to play in this context and the inclusion ofarchitecture within the arts, placing it on a par with sculpture, painting or photography; a philosophy common to American and European artists of the period.
These buildings and their balconies decorated with ceramic murals are the starting point for a process of research that ledPatricia Esquivias to focus on this particular moment in the history of Spain. And she did so not just through the facts (if such a thing has every really existed, as a concept), but also through the personalstories of the people who were part of it. One by one, overlapping and intertwining their experiences with Esquivias’s personal focus, we get a better grasp of the moment, and from there we can begin to question our vision of the present. This whole process of research is captured in videos, photos,drawings, examples of decorative arts and crafts and works by other artists (Manuel S. Molezún, Amadeo Gabino, Alberto Sánchez) and architects (Miguel de Artiñano and Fernando Garrido).
This project affords a gateway to the key issues underlying Patricia Esquivias’s practice: populararchitecture observed by the people and the culture that use it. Therein the inclusion of other works that reference pre-colonial cultural in South America, or the migratory flow of people from the north of Morocco to various destinations in Europe. The exhibition walkthrough continues with Off a Short Stay (in progress), an exploration of how we live, the (both public and private) spaces we inhabit and how their uses have changed with respect to our values and aspirations. This seriesconnects with Esquivias’s desire to respond to thecontradictions of our society, or at least to register them and, by making them visible, raise our awareness of them.
Patricia Esquivias was born in Caracas in 1979 but grew up in Madrid, where she currently lives and works. She studied art in London and in San Francisco. In Madrid she worked alongside Manuela Moscoso in the programming for los29enchufes. Since2005 her work has centred primarily on video and has been seen in Spain (Museo Nacional Reina Sofía, CA2M, MACBA),Germany (Frankfurter Kunstverein, 5th Berlin Biennale), USA (White Columns, New Museum, Hammer Museum, Midway Contemporary Art) and in England (East International, Tate Modern). She has had residencies at Akademie Schloss Solitude inStuttgart, Skowhegan School of Art in Maine, Wiels in Brussels, as well as in Mexico, Colombia and Morocco