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Sensitive material

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Sensitive Material, 2018. Wax, marble, iron, thermal insulation, ceramic and insolated paper. 

Photography: Claudia Ihrek

Sensitive Material is an installation made up predominantly by ground structures lying in the courtyard of the Santa Inés Convent. The installation explores the history of the architectural complex in which it is located through different materials related to the building. It also brings us closer to a possible physical and vital experience of the people that currently live in the convent (nuns of the Franciscan Clarist Order), and to the relationship of these with its architecture and their relationship with this enclosed world and focusing inwards on what is their habitat: a unique and limited setting for physical realities that can only be measured with it. Likewise, the space that emerges from the relationship created by the work itself with the setting invites spectators to enjoy an experience involving not only contemplation, but together with the convent’s inhabitants, also requires the measurement of the body.


The Santa Inés Convent, founded in 1374 by Ms María Coronel, is one of the most important Mudejar buildings in Seville and is currently in an advanced state of disrepair. After studying the architectural elements and the materials that form the conventual building, Mercedes Pimiento chose those she was interested in to create new shapes. Material Sensible therefore provides us with another possible story about the building through a different relationship with its materials: iron, marble, wax, stone or ceramics are torn from their original forms and functions to be used for others: fragments of window grilles built with wax, oranges coated with paraffin, pieces of marble protruding from the floor and serving as supports, etc.

These materials are also exposed to different forces (sunlight, humidity, heat, biological damage, etc.), they undergo various transformations and have varying degrees of seasonality: on the one hand, those that are highly sensitive such as wax or organic elements, will suffer the effects of climate changes more rapidly, while those that are more resistant, such as marble or iron, will remain almost unaltered, regardless of how long the exposure lasts.

Therefore, Sensitive Material is a receptacle of heterogeneous times, presenting a relationship between vital time -the architectural and technical transformations the building has undergone throughout its life- and the geologic time -the time of the actual materials used to construct it-, with the aim of connecting the present with the past, and the visitor with the space and the exposure time, with the latter understood to be a continuous state of change.

Blanca del Río

Exhibition: Before time. Micro-stories of re-positioning

Curated by Blanca del Río

Sala Santa Inés, Seville

20.10.2018 / 05.01.2019

Photographies: Claudia Ihrek

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