Nihil Omne
Maria Angeles Díaz Barbado

March 27 – May 30, 2015

After all, all has been nothing,

even though one day it was everything.

After nothing, or after all

I knew that everything was just nothing.

José Hierro

The artist’s third solo exhibition at the gallery develops a project about still life in photographies, drawings and objects.

Her work relates almost always about the poetics of the inanimate object, organic or inorganic, consequently, it is located an orbit of gender proximity.

The disaffection that it has experienced by the recent artistic practice, or even the fact that in certain schools it never got to shed of being considered minor, may be the reason why it was chosen as subject by itself; in turn, none of them as full of symbolism and ability to convey emotion, with excellent characteristics for the treatment and representation of the artist’s own universe, almost Franciscan, about love towards the most humble and ephemeral presences, from which she extracts the beauty of its formal qualities, emphasizing them.

 The balance between what is emotional and what is rational, alongside the economy of means, that is channeled in some  ready made  practices, tangentially related with minimal and povera art, shape a panorama which could be qualified as ascetic, fitting into a neoconceptual environment.

It is known that Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada searched for God through frying pans and thus wanted Marina Abramovic to recover it for contemporary plastic arts.

Humble and primordial objects in daily existence, in which some artists find what is true.

If, as N. Bryson points out, it’s closely related with  female space because of its commitment with what is unimportant, irrelevant, mediocre, excluded from power spaces, the compositions in this project put the emphasis on the brief advent, decline and disappearance of its components, on the vanitas.

Still-life or Still-leuven (the Germanic name, more expressive about its durability meaning ad eternum, its pretension of timelessness, its undetermined permanence in time and even of immortality, breaking some of the entropy laws, in that act of freezing a moment of existence to turn it into its compendium) holds an endlessness, that, according to Hegel, would be located in the orbit of divinity.

Order and neatness, specifics of its style, become more evident in her predilection for the series and the notion of process, in which she systematizes phenomenons in chronological sequence, or establishes time schedules in the future of the existence of the objects or beings, this time in a more evident and explicit way.

 The reiteration that, according to Guy Davenport, is a privilege granted by the gender, gives rise to the series, where the forbearing observation searching for the differentiating alteration that justifies them is expressed and whose objective would be the craving for geometric, and perchance, spiritual transparency.

As a sample, drawings of insects taken from some engraving of the 19th century, reduced to the final scheme of its silhouttes, admist an equally stylized landscape.

Judging by the event that Pliny the Elder tells in his Natural History, the existence of still-life traces back to Antiquity.

This is the struggle between Zeuxis and Pharnasios to achieve the greater verisimilitude while representating objects.

Also, he tells how Pyreicus, a promising artist, debunked his career because of painting trifles, reason why he earned the apelative of rhyparographos.

16th, 17th and 18th centuries are great moments in the genre, that flourish with proposes and well differentiated poetics from those in which forefronts insisted on time after time.

Moreover, in certain movements and painters, we find its own treatment inside compositions unrelated to its dynamic, as subgenre, like the Primitive Flemish artists and their delay in recreating the fabrics, which we also observe in the Zurbarán series of monks.

The object worship reaches its scenographic disposition in historical affiliation compositions.  In the current case, the identification with Zurbarán and Sánchez Cotán, who best represent the most Spanish spirit in the genre, maybe the plastic equivalent of the mystical and ascetic streams, countersigns the selfserving nature that it possesses.

It is known the origin that the portrait has in still-lifes and its preparatory exercises and, thus, also about the self-portrait.

Far from the caloric excesses that are so frequented by Dutch and Flemish artists and from the motley conceptist speech of Spanish vanitas -one of them lends it name to this exhibition, the one of Antonio de Pereda in the Kunsthistorishes of Viena-, sobriety and elegance strike the right note in the still-lifes of Mª Angeles Díaz Barbado.


On the backgrounds and floors, in an absolutely, abysmal black, like the floor where they rest, any reference that discloses its range has disappeared.

In the middle of such solitude and silence, every object, given individuality, as if floating in a nothingness of atmospheric vacuum, it collects a close dimension near to metaphysics.

Photography is the predominant stand in this exhibition.

Enmanuel Sougez considered it suitable for the genre -not surprisingly Daguerre chose it as subject for one of his first works – since the image contains the object and, in a way, its emotion, perpetuating it.



Exhibition Views



Actividad realizada con la ayuda del Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte