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Elena Mendizabal. SculptureARTIUM | Basque Museum - Center of Contemporary Art
Image: Elena Mendizabal, Sin título (Melena), 1986. Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao Collection
The earliest works contained in the exhibition date back to the period between 1982 and 1984. These provide an account of Elena Mendizabal's (b. Donostia, 1960) working context and the dialogue exchanges of the time among which are those related to the object’s conceptual, semiotic analysis and the artist’s role in society. This group of works contains a clash between the conceptual post-minimalist postulates of international art discourse at the time and the legacy of sculptural languages in the Basque Country. An encounter with postmodernity that would lead the artist to define a body of work determined by contrasting materials and major discursive consistency.
These retrospective also encompasses a major selection of the works on display at the exhibition in which Mendizabal participated in 1989 at ”la Caixa” Foundation’s Sala Montcada, in Barcelona. In these pieces the subject of flowers becomes the motif for developing abstract sculptural structures made initially of metal and then of painted wood.
The formal research conducted by Elena Mendizabal in later years began to combine traditional materials with elements such as wallpaper, Formica or electric light, elements that would act as springboards for bringing the experience of sculpture closer to daily life.
A cluster of sculptures made between 2016 and 2017 of materials such as cardboard, plasticine or clay, configure various templates that refer to affective and cognitive schemes. Those made of plasticine are linked to the interests that can be found in Mendizabal’s previous works in which the human body –and references to women– assumed a decisive presence. The exhibition also includes a series of works that link together -either iconically or metaphorically- the minimalist constructive tradition of sculpture with figurative images and formal references from various fields, such as design or architecture.