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Like a monument to collapse

como un monumento al colapso - mercedes pimiento

Like a Monument to Collapse , 2020

Installation. Plaster, earthenware, copper, granite, marble, wax, paraffin, resin, silicone, steel and MDF.

Being mud is really different from being granite and should be treated differently. Mud lies around being wet and heavy and oozy and generative. Mud is underfoot. People make footprints in mud. As mud I accept feet. I accept weight. I try to be supportive, I like to be obliging. Those who take me for granite say this is not so but they haven’t been looking where they put their feet. That’s why the house is all dirty and tracked up.

Ursula K. Leguin, Being taken for granite.


Like a monument to collapse (2020) was born as a dialogue with the place in which it is located: the Monastery of La Cartuja, in Seville, a space traversed —on a material and symbolic level— by numerous historical narratives. Since its origin, this place has a material link with the Guadalquivir river and with the clays of its bed, which led to the settlement of the first Almohad pottery kilns in the area. The Carthusian monastery, founded in 1400, would later become —among others— an earthenware factory, a royal pavilion during the Expo92 and, finally, a monumental complex and a contemporary art centre.


Understanding the site as a permeable construction, in which different layers and fragments emerge from and sink in its surfaces, this project proposes a rereading of this building-monument, to reflect on the forms of construction of the history and materialization of memory, in the midst of a moment of collapse (ecological, economic...) like the one we live in, in which the past is blurred and the future denied.


Taking as a starting point an original column capital located in the atrium of the church, a series of copies have been generated through processes of reproduction by molds and negative molds. The resulting hollow pieces are made of different materials related to the building - such as clay, marble and granite - in a more or less porous and permeable state. These are located in different interior and exterior spaces, in a straight line, creating a fictitious trace that crosses the building from the atrium to the garden of the cloister. In this way, they reconstruct another possible trace that intersects with the existing ones —those of the kilns of the pottery factory and those of the cloister of the Carthusian monastery— generating yet another time that overlaps and that, in turn, proposes the visitor a different way to walk through the building.


In the exhibition space of the cloister there are also a series of pieces related to the manufacturing processes themselves —raw materials, molds, fragments recovered from the building or waste from the process— in reference to the production lines that the space housed during its manufacturing era.


I this project, the architectural complex is understood as an archive, mediated by its uses and by the conservation and renovation decisions that have been applied to it, turning it into a palimpsest in which different layers of matter and meaning coexist. In this way, the set of pieces becomes a kind of material archive that, far from aiming to be a closed object shielded against time, is presented as an archive in process, porous, sensitive to changes and in constant negotiation with its surroundings. Thus, this project proposes an approach to these strata, unfolding those folds and displaying them simultaneously, as a monument to the collapse of history in which present, past and future concur.

Exhibition: Between the forms that go towards the serpent and the forms that seek the glass

Curated by Roxana Gazdzinski y Joaquín Jesús Sánchez

Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo

04.12.2020 - 09.05.2021

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