The first exhibition in Spain of the American artist Janelle Iglesias, whose work has been created by herself or by working in partnership with her sister Lisa, as Las Hermanas Iglesias. The title refers us directly to the materials that the works are made of; all those useless objects that are abandoned or that Nature itself refuses. The size of the pieces that she works on, are the ones that you can hold in your hands or the ones that can make feel as if you could be inside, inhabited or, rather, assembled. She never stays halfway. During the execution of her works, she follows a series of steps, like situating herself physically and emotionally in the place, searching, collecting and reacting to those experiences facing the environment. Finally, she plays with the objects found in situ, in this case, not just in the streets, but looked for in the La Rosaleda’s flea market, Chinese’s shops, hardware stores, grocer’s shops, like La Manzana de Oro and Udaco Norte, or borrowed by the setup technician or the gallery staff. Meanwhile, other works that she brought from the States have been added to the exhibition. Many of them have been “gathered” from a beach in New York, whose natural beauty, including shells and conchs that are left by the sea. These contrast with the dumping of all kind of refuse that has been deposited on the coast for years and which includes a multitude of different objects. Among them the artist prefers pieces of glass, and especially clay ones, but also others that have been modified by sea water action and atmospheric agents, which she converts permanently.
About her meeting with Málaga city, she emphasizes two shocking feelings: the port cranes, which led her to create the stairs structure, and the blue sky that she discovered a few days after her arrival, during the rainy days that this winter is gifting us. The result is the cloud and postcards’ skies artistic installation.
Her interest about the objects is explained by their capacity for telling the stories that they house tangibly. It stirs up a great curiosity in her about her preference for some more than for others. She also wonders about why we keep things that don’t work, or we never use them, and why we throw others away. As well many things that she has perceived and learnt from her parents’ family –Norwegian and Dominican- and her roots, comes from the contemplation of the objects of her house, in Queens, the multicultural neighbourhood par excellence, brought there by her parents and other relatives.
Janelle Iglesias finds in these small daily objects the poetry of the day-to-day life. Influenced by the thinking of Gaston Bachelard, her aims are far from a grandiloquent and rhetoric speech, trying to catch her own culture in its lowest phenomenon. The Poetic of the space in the French philosopher thinking, defines the house as a poetic image, dwelling of oversights and memories, which are nourished from ordinary objects, carriers of feelings linked with life experiences, so they can be cast beyond their mere functionality. Consequently, she establish how the phenomenological function of the poetic image is the sublimation that is produced on them, bringing about their opening to the language, an inside out route. Causality of the small thing as “a narrow door that is opened to the world”.
The big artistic installations, with which she creates microenvironments inspired in the animal architecture and in the machines built by human beings, and that she catalogues as an extension of the magic realism, combining with that simultaneously could be considered as fantastic, common, natural and domestic, belongs to a series of works called Bowerbirds Installations, none similar to any other. The male of these bower birds builts incredible nests to attract the female ones, taking all kind of materials along the urban areas, so the final result depends on the proximity of the place chosen as settlement. Curiously, the less attractive its plumage, the greater its ability and creative sensibility.
Machines and kinetic creations by Jean Tinguely, are related to the ready made Dada tradition, the collage and the absurd, are present in most of her reference repertoire. Tinguely was recently homaged in a Tate Modern’s exhibition with an anthology of his early works and the rework of them made by the British sculptor Michael Landy, one of the most radical artists of the YBAs. Also, she is connected with Gabriel Orozco’s dynamics of the work, with her gestures and roaming along the streets, where she finds most part of the materials. Both share this povera movement’s feelings.
The small sculptures that accompany the artistic installation are part of another ongoing project called Bottle Beach, they are made of shells and clay pieces, glass, leather, cutlery, etc, picked up on the beach, mixed between themselves, and a strong and close relation with her artistic installations, in fact they are almost tiny architectural structures. Pablo Neruda, one of her literary references, was a great collector of shells and conchs, discovering in both the pleasure of “their prodigious structure”. The Odas Elementales, by the Chilean poet – to the socks, to a clock, to the conger soup,…- have been one of her inspiring and supplement sources.
Janelle Iglesias, formed as anthropologist and musician, discovers the
Role of the art and the artists in the society during a journey to South Africa to attend a program called Days of Reconciliation by Desmond Tutu in collaboration with University of Emory. There, she studied different places of the world that tried to develop reconciliation strategies by dialogue and communicating their respective experiences. Then, she thought about dedicating herself to the cultural production beyond the study of cultures, once she learnt the utility of the art for the anti-apartheid movement and how it was an important tool for the mutual comprehension of people, sharing points of view, assimilating what was happening to them and questioning the stablished situations, to change them looking to the future. The privileged position of the artist in these situations is justified because of his talent for seduction and conviction, creating those pieces of art capables to obtain what Janelle Iglesias learned in South Africa.