From May 19 to July 4, 2021
155 Vauxhall Street
London SE11 5RH
Gasworks, London, presents the first UK solo exhibition by Amsterdam-based artist Mercedes Azpilicueta. Her work brings together marginal historical figures, fictional characters and gendered mythologies from South America’s colonial past.
Fuelled by collaborations with dancers, writers, researchers and craftspeople, her installations often take the form of intricate set designs, theatrical props, soundtracks and scores for a live performance that doesn’t yet exist, therefore inviting the viewer to take centre stage.
Calling herself a ‘dishonest researcher’, Azpilicueta navigates across multiple geographies, chronologies and fields of knowledge, ranging from literature and art history to popular music and street culture, in a loving pursuit of subversive and contested historical figures —queer, feminist, exiled and unheard voices from the past— who haunt her videos, sculptures and textiles.
The exhibition at Gasworks offers a speculative vision of Catalina de Erauso, a 17th-century nun from the Basque Country who travelled to the New World, where s/he lived under male identities and became a ruthless lieutenant in the Spanish colonial army. Azpilicueta’s show presents newly-commissioned Jacquard tapestries alongside a new body of sculptures, costumes and props.
A public programme including panel discussions and newly-commissioned online works by artists and writers accompanies the exhibition.
Erauso: The Inner Experience
Video essay available online from 2 June
A letter to the artist by archivist and curator Verónica Rossi, presented in dialogue with a roaming gaze across the tapestries featured in the exhibition.
Weaving Past and Future: Panel Discussion
Podcast available online from 16 June
A panel discussion about Catalina de Erauso and the construction of history, with literary historian Amaia Alvarez- Uria, archaeologist Sergio Escribano-Ruiz, and art historian Haizea Barcenilla.
Bondage of Passions: Ode
Friday 25 to Sunday 27 June, 12-6pm
Experience a site-specific sound installation in the gallery by writer and composer Ella Finer, that re-imagines Azpilicueta’s tapestries as portals made of speaker cloth.
Join the mailing list for information on these events https://www.gasworks.org.uk/mailing-list/, or follow @gasworkslondon on social media.
Mercedes Azpilicueta’s exhibition is commissioned and produced by Gasworks. Gasworks commissions are supported by Catherine Petitgas and Gasworks Exhibitions Supporters.