"...and I wasn't dead; no, no. I was just in the kitchen" | PILAR ALBARRACÍN
Born in Seville in 1968, Pilar Albarracín, currently lives and works in Madrid. She herself has stated that her work has centred on probing dominant narratives and is a product of her thoughts on issues of daily life. Through the media of video, performance, photography, sculpture, and installation, the overriding question she has posed is if traditional gender roles can and should be maintained.
Pilar Albarracín has made her cultural heritage and issues of identity and cultural gender labelling the territory in which she works. Her allusions are flamenco, the bullfight, religious beliefs, the differences between the worlds of the country and the city, superstitions, festivals, and popular songs and sayings. The themes that mark her work are: immigration, obsession regarding the type of beauty relentlessly pushed by advertising and the media and, above all, the role of women and how domination has become a veritable institution.
Pilar Albarracín's art can be interpreted as a metaphor for unsubmissiveness. The work she has done, shot through and through with irony on cultural clichés and stereotypes, shows us what is at the very core of domination and is nothing less than an x-ray of the violence that has been perpetrated on women. In her work she has made the role of women and their behaviours her artistic battleground. Her works analyze, criticize, and condemn, and -for those who believe that art can change the world-function as a kind of therapy. Her artistic discourse, both good-hearted and tragic-comical, is not only about one particular country, culture, identity or gender. It is about all of us. She has a ferocious desire to communicate but is able to laugh at herself and that imbues her artistic expression with a type of drama. Albarracín's creative world is made up of flesh and blood, heart, guts, pain, laughter, big-heartedness, courage, battle cries, punishment, rituals, excess and a certain rawness.
The exhibit currently on display at the Filomena Soares Gallery, is called "...and I wasn't dead; no, no. I was just in the kitchen" and revolves around a central installation made up of pressure cookers, some of which have audio output where one can hear a small, doctored cut from the Socialist International Anthem.
Pilar has chosen those domestic chores usually associated with women such as cooling and embroidering as the central themes in "Diálogos imposibles" ("The Impossible Dialogues") as a means of humorously questioning clichés linked to gender identity and women's role in society. Her reflections on the woman as an artist are shown in the video "La reencarnación"("Reincarnation"). She is not exploiting cliché's just for exploitation's sake; nor is she documentalizing. At a time when we are increasingly witnessing the de-personalization of society, her insistence obliges us to confront images that have been adjudged timeless and everlasting , so that we may continue to question traditional roles.
Pilar Albarracín recently participated in the Mirador/ Medienkunst Aus Spanien, OK Centrum fur Gegenwartskunst, Linz (Austria, 2006) and in 2005 exhibited her work at a number of shows such as: Art that works / Catch me. 46th October Salon, Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro; Centre of Gravity. Istanbul Modern Sanat Müzesit, Istanbul (Turkey); Always a little further. 51st International Art Exhibition, Biennale di Venecia, Arsenale di Venecia (Italy); Here comes the sun. Magazín 3 Konsthall , Stockholm (Sweden) and, Dialectics of Hope, 1st Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (Russia).