The Alhambra and Granada display Carmen Laffón’s artistic journey through the land-scapes of Andalusia
Over 100 works by the artist will be on show, some of them for the first time, in an exhibition which opens today at the Palace of Charles V, the Rodríguez-Acosta Foundation and the Palace of the Madraza in Granada.
The Alhambra and Granada are the next stop on the artistic journey of Carmen Laffón (Seville, 1934) through the landscapes of Andalusia. Almost 100 of her works make up the exhibition entitled El paisaje y el lugar (Land-scape and Place), which is arriving in Granada after its stay at the Andalusian Contemporary Art Centre (CAAC), where it was visited by 52,612 people. The exhibition will now be on show in three venues: in the temporary exhibition rooms of the Granada Fine Arts Museum on the upper floor of the Palace of Charles V and in the Palace Chapel, at the Rodríguez-Acosta Foundation at Callejón Niños del Rollo, 8 and at the Palace of La Madraza, in Calle Oficios, Granada.
This morning, the Director-General of the Council of the Alhambra and Generalife, María del Mar Villafranca, and the Rector of the University of Gra-nada, Francisco González Lodeiro, toured the exhibition together with the exhibition curator, Juan Bosco Díaz-Urmeneta, and Carmen Laffón herself, who in her speech offered a few brief brushstrokes of her “artistic journey”, in which she exhibits a number of works that have never been on public view.
This exhibition, which is jointly organized by the Alhambra, the CAAC and the University of Granada, is the most important exhibition of the paint-er’s work ever staged in Andalusia and the biggest since the retrospective show held in 1992 at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. The exhibition brings together works owned by various institutions such as the Council of the Alhambra and Generalife, the Andalusian Contemporary Art Centre (CAAC) and numerous public and private collections, and others owned by the artist herself.
Visitors to the El paisaje y el lugar exhibition will discover that Carmen Laffón uses a range of different techniques. The works on display include oils on canvas, charcoal drawings on paper, pastels and oils on paper and sculp-tures in painted iron, iron, plaster, wood and aluminium, painted bronze and temper and charcoal on wood. This is because in her most recent creative phase the artist from Seville has achieved an artistic freedom that radicalizes her conception of landscape as something to be viewed.
According to the curator of the exhibition “Carmen Laffón is at a point in her artistic career in which exploration and investigation have released some of the ties of the past allowing her to embark on a new journey, which surprises and dazzles us with its free and radical approach to what has gone before”.
In the temporary exhibition room of the Fine Arts Museum on the upper floor of the Palace of Charles V, visitors can see the large series devoted to the river Guadalquivir, with works such as Los Cotos, Las Orillas, Los Cielos and Las Bajamar. They will also enjoy a series of drawings that Laffón made on a visit to the Alhambra and the Generalife gardens in 2006, most of which belong to the Council of the Alhambra and Generalife. Lastly in the Chapel of the Palace of Charles V, visitors can see a series that she finished this year entitled La Cal.
Carmen Laffón’s exhibition takes us on “a journey along the Guadalqui-vir, until it reaches the sea in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. But travelling changes the traveller and the paintings themselves open up a second path through the landscape itself: landscapes of unexpected encounters in La Cartuja, of the life that fills the banks of the river in Bonanza, the view that expects and spies out the strength of the light over Doñana from Sanlucár, of the sea’s immi-nent presence in La Jara”.
The series entitled La Cal (Lime) and the sculptures of El Quijote (Don Quixote) in the Chapel of the Palace of Charles V take us back to an ancient craft and the savoir-faire of the lime-workers in the forests, the quarry and the kiln offering a special vision in which their tools are centre stage. The art-ist admitted that one of the pictures in this collection was completed “almost in record time”. “When I saw the exhibition space I realized that I was one pic-ture short. I have been working in my studio to give it shape. I am now satis-fied with the results”.
The second part of the exhibition can be seen in the Rodríguez-Acosta Foundation. The works here include sculptures in iron, aluminium, bronze and wood which were produced in her most recent creative phase from 2011 to 2015. In her frequent visits to a blacksmith’s forge, Carmen Laffón began to notice the possibilities offered by the tools used by the smith in his every-day work at the forge. This led to La Herrería (The Forge). The works in this section fall somewhere between sculpture and assembly given that they are made up of objects that have nothing to do with art, which were found and chosen by the painter. This section is made up of pieces such as Caballetes con palos y vigas (Trestles with sticks and beams), La cuba (The barrel) and Caballetes con elementos verticales (Trestles with vertical pieces).
Finally in the Palace of the Madraza, which belongs to the University of Granada, there is a series of pictures entitled La Viña (The Vine), done in charcoal on paper. This extensive series brings to mind the two Mediterrane-an legends, the vine, a sign of fertile nature and the wine-cellar, a symbol of welcome and friendly coexistence. La Viña was exhibited for the first time in the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos, in the exhibition room run by the Reina Sofia Museum in what was once the monastery’s wine cellar.
Together with the exhibition, a book-catalogue has been published in collaboration with the Andalusian Studies Centre, with contributions from specialists from the Spanish art scene such as Francisco Calvo Serraller, Jaco-bo Cortines, Lorena Martínez de Corral and the exhibition curator himself, Juan Bosco Díaz-Urmeneta, who analyse the work and career of Carmen Laf-fón.
Free guided visits have been organized every Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 to 14:00 in groups of a maximum of 15 people. Those interested should book a place in advance at the Corral del Carbón, in Calle Mariana Pineda s/n, by phone to 958 575 126 or by email to alhambraedu-ca.pag@juntadeandalucia, where the day and time of their visit will be con-firmed.
A special event has also been organized entitled Conversations with …, which will begin at the Granada Book Fair with Carmen Laffón, Juan Bosco Dí-az-Urmeneta and Francisco Jarauta, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Murcia. The event will be held on 23 April at 19:30 h in the Palace of the Madraza, in the Calle Oficios in Granada and admission will be free until all seats are taken.
Carmen Laffón is a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Madrid and a Favoured Daughter of Andalusia. Among other awards, she has won the National Art Prize (Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas) and the Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts. When asked about her life and her relationship with Seville and Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Carmen Laffón said that “the Guadalquivir is the river of Seville, the city where I was born, and it took me to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, my other city, where I began to paint and to dream”.
For more information, please visit www.alhambra-patronato.es
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