July 26, 2021

‘C’est la vie’: rage against conformism from the hand of Mavi Escamilla

VALENCIA. Mavi escamilla he has always sought with his art to pervert institutionalized concepts. This is how she says it herself. In his artistic evolution, the colors red and yellow have always been very powerful. It is because these colors have always been linked to the flag of Spain (already concepts such as patriotism or the nation), and she has always been bothered by “literature associated with color”.

The artist arrives at MuVIM with her exhibition It’s life, composed of a score of works (most of them large) in which although yellow and red have a strong presence, this time also has gold. Your sample, which can be seen until September, vindicates feminism running away of convoluted metaphors.

Collage, abstract art, punk impressionism and figuration go hand in hand in this exhibition, which integrates elements of cinema and classical art and the world of advertising and signage. With his works makes very clear denunciations about the emancipation of women, patriarchy and the standards of masculinity. “I am an abstract in the body of a figurative”, dice.

‘This is life’

The sample that runs through the upper floor of the MuVIM is characterized by a “great pictorial power”, as indicated by the museum’s head of exhibitions Amador Griñado. In the tables – most of them selected from between its production between 2000 and 2007, with three works from 2018 and one from 2021-, you can see female figures of the cinema in black and white like the one in Elizabeth Taylor or that of Marlene Dietrich. They are combined with concepts of a very established social meaning such as ‘play’ or ‘stop’, which the artist resignifies from a feminist perspective that does not respond to its usual use.

Escamilla explains that the name of the sample –It’s life– comes from that idea so imposed in our culture of accept injustices even though we are aware of their illicit condition. In one of the works, in particular, a child soldier appears. “Faced with such realities,” he explains, “we usually say: It’s life, this is life. As if you couldn’t intervene ”. That is the idea that he wanted to capture: “That position of thinking that we cannot do anything bursts me. And that bad milk can be seen in the paintings. We all have to act, as a society, but we wash our hands because we are relegated to the domestic part of our own lives“, Add.

This exhibition is part of a larger idea that germinated as a result of another of his exhibitions, Female condition. The artist explains that this exhibition could be divided into three parts: sex, love and art. This is the part dedicated to love, since through his works, Escamilla gives voice to her opinion on romantic love, according to her, “a social ruse”. This idea can be seen in several of his works, which follow a narrative succession. In the first, a woman appears surrounded by red colors, which symbolizes her intrinsic power. In the second, a man intervenes. In the third, the woman “dares”, according to the artist, to be with the man. The following is the image of a kiss. And the last one is another woman, alone, in a comfortable attitude, after remaining calm without said man.

'It's life'
On the other hand, until now Mavi Escamilla had never titled her works. This time it does. “I have always thought that literature and art are very different elements. That is why my works did not have a title -he explains-. However, by bringing together languages ​​as different as those in this exhibition, I thought that the titles would help.

The names chosen for his works, in this sense, provide the key to what he has sought to express. Escape to Paradise, Storm Menace, Dolce far niente O Puzzle are some of them. And not all the pieces are large, but the sample also includes a series of paintings on paper, in pencil and with ornaments of very diluted paint.

“A classic painter”

Mavi Escamilla emphasizes that she has always considered herself a classic painter, since the limits of painting are not questioned. “I just paint,” he clarifies. And he does it through his particular technique: encaustic. “I am using waxes. I scratch them little by little on the canvas as if I were drawing ”, he emphasizes.

Its composition process follows a series of guidelines. Each of his works has three different layers. The first is the abstract. In the background of each of his paintings you can see streaks of color, in many cases yellow and red, and in others gold. The second layer is figuration, the bulk of the work, its female figures. The third layer is the symbols. The signage that is superimposed on the frame, making your messages even more direct.

'It's life'

Escamilla, emphasizing that condition of classical artist under which he defines himself, explains that “the only thing that modernizes it is that his works lack scale and perspective, and his palette is neither realistic nor naturalistic”.

Defend reflective art

The director of MuVIM, Rafael Company, In line with Escamilla’s work, he emphasizes that “in view of the current artistic circumstances, in which everything is going so fast and is so linked to mass consumption, museums must be reflective and know history”. In this sense, Escamilla’s work is, according to him, “a strong and inquisitive reflection that enters fully into the mind of the viewer”.

Amador Griñó has added that the artists consolidated in the 80s and 90s (such as Escamilla), are going to “a second plane” due to the prominence of the new generations of artists. “That does not mean, far from it, that artists like Mavi Escamilla should be forgotten, a strong artist, aware of her surroundings and confronted with destiny,” he concludes.