Diana Larrea – Yo existo, tú existes, nosotras existimos. Sala Verónicas Murcia
15/may/2021 - 25/jul/2021
The exhibition project that the multidisciplinary artist Diana Larrea (Madrid, 1972) has conceived for the Sala Verónicas, is made up of three works based on the same common conceptual discourse. These three works are inspired by an online artistic action that Diana Larrea has carried out since 2017 through her personal profile on social networks. The action is called “Such a day as today” and is a hybrid work of feminist activism, historical research and cultural outreach. In it, the artist regularly publishes the biography and works of forgotten and / or unknown women artists of the past. It is a historical review focused on the recovery and revaluation of the artistic work of women that has been ignored for centuries by the official discourse.
Based on this action, Diana Larrea has developed the post-photographic project “De entre las muertas” (2020), in which she has selected a series of 100 self-portraits of great painters in art history, from the Renaissance to the Avant-gardes 20th century. Diana has modified the original files of these self-portraits to show the faces of these women as if they were records of a phantasmagoria. By way of what the artist calls “false cyanotypes”, Larrea has digitally transformed the self-portraits in the form of a negative and in blue, to refer to the old method of cyanotype, which was carried out by what is now considered the first History photographer: British botanist Anna Atkins (1799-1871).
Another of the works that we see in the room is a video projection in the altar area entitled “An artist for each day” (2021). In it we can see all the “Instagram Stories” that Diana Larrea has been sharing a diary with her followers on the networks for a year. The video is edited with 365 short clips, each lasting a few seconds, with which the artist updates the female artistic figures of the past to bring them to our contemporary social context. As the soundtrack for this video, Diana Larrea has chosen liturgical music composed by Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), Benedictine abbess, philosopher, naturalist and mystical visionary. Hildegard’s music harmonizes with the overall concept of this exhibition and, at the same time, is in tune with the architecture of the Sala Verónicas as it was a sacred place.
The third piece is conceived by Diana specifically for this occasion and is based on Inés Salzillo (1717-1775), sister and essential collaborator in the baroque imagery workshop of the Murcian sculptor Francisco Salzillo (1707-1783). It is known that the functions of Inés within the workshop were the application of the polychromy of the carvings, the incarnations and the process of the stew. Following the social pattern imposed for women at that time, Inés had to leave the workshop when she got married, after 15 years dedicated to working in an unpaid and subordinate way in the family business. Diana Larrea wanted to rescue and revalue the figure of Inés Salzillo and, for this, she has focused on the image of the “Virgen Dolorosa” (1742) preserved in the Church of Santa Catalina. Taking this carving as an inspiration, Larrea has developed a space installation entitled “Atelier creative de Inés Salzillo” (2021) that is made up of a series of drawings, a wall mural and pieces of wood covered with gold leaf. The ensemble is interpreted as a metaphor for all those impediments that Inés Salzillo encountered as a woman when it came to being able to exercise a creative profession, symbolizing that situation of social seclusion in which women were overprotected in her time inside “golden cages” . This idea is intensified thanks to the location that Diana has chosen to place the installation, since it is located in the small room behind the latticework, a closed space where the Veronicas nuns used to pray in this cloistered convent.