Curator: Susana Blas
“I do not really know what it means to be a free woman or a liberated woman, I do not even know what the difference is between a free man and a liberated man. I am one of those women who have had the possibility, the intuition or the privilege to understand the absurdity of male sexism ». Agnes Varda
In The Ceremony, Marta Beltrán (Granada, 1977) designed a drawing project for the Royal Hospital of Granada that now makes a stopover at 13 ESPACIOarte (Seville). The exhibit, conceived as an open-ended process, is now expanded and adapted to the characteristics of the new space.
The exhibition, which takes its title from a film by Claude Chabrol (La Cérémonie, 1998), compiles the artist´s work and latest research, by choosing some of her classic series in black ink on paper, together with new large format pieces that delve deeper into Beltrán´s primary interest: the semiotic analysis, primarily in cinema, of images of women. Beltran works from an intuitive and emotional perspective in order to reveal stereotypes, preconceived ideas and the social impositions that women endure.
The author expresses her process and approach in this way: “Beginning with the identification of the creative practices of fiction realized by women, or that have women as protagonists, albeit in literature, cinema or comics, I try to construct a new subjective narrative. The process begins with the appropriation of documentary photography, stills and texts from a variety of films that revolve around concepts such as childhood, motherhood, friendship, family ties between women and Identity. These are then contemplated from an angle that observes their contradictory sides”.
Marta Beltrán especially uses the decades of the sixties, seventies and eighties to select the film stills that will be the origin of her black ink drawings. In her choice of scenes, she seeks to contrast the image of women in the domestic sphere and in everyday situations, using an inventory of the spaces in the house (the rooms and the decorative objects) to create a story that combines a distanced perspective in the framing with a practice of uncontrolled drawing. This distortional drawing (irrational, uncontrolled) and the choice of format (small, medium or monumental) are definitive elements that, at first, generate in the viewer a sense of strangeness, and later, reflection.
Most of the drawings come from film stills from auteur cinema. Marta is interested in both classic and alternative cinema. During the viewing of the films she may feel a special connection with a scene, emotionally, formally or symbolically. Her mind fixes the frame and stops on the body of the protagonist actresses, who will receive a new life on paper. The scene, the figures, are traced with black ink on the white support. In that translation, she can isolate the character, or include elements in the background. Marta works it all together in an intuitive way. The hand, imbued with nerve, is what progressively proportions and balances the lines and volumes to build a distorted version that at times owes little to the original, making it difficult to recognize the source of inspiration. In general, the features of the faces harden and in the bodies, that which seemed beautiful or mysterious, becomes grotesque, sad or desperate. Only in some cases do hieratic and distancing dominate: creating a state of stillness beyond suffering, “as if everything had already happened”.
“My way of treating the material is unprejudiced and is at the service of discovery, of allowing ideas or images to emerge, even if the forms of beauty are eventually compromised. The point is that these images allow the appearance of unconscious content and create new images independent of the originals “.