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I arrive in Saltillo for my penultimate stop. The French Alliance of Saltillo puts me in touch with the Sarape La Favorita school, the University of Fine Arts, and the city's Graphic Arts Museum. I will be working there from May 23 to June 1, 2019.
We start our collaboration with an expedition in the desert. This allows us to meet each other, to get to know our personalities and interests, as well as to find local inspirations and issues to raise. There, we find petroglyphs (drawings engraved in stone) dating back to several thousands of years. They are the witnesses of a much older human activity than we do. The particular energy of this place, the extreme natural elements that constitute the landscape lead us to carry out a sensitive and respectful inventory of the area. Sketches, soil and mineral surveys, vegetation, thorns, rubbings, and photos are the basis that we will use to create our works for this micro-residency exhibition.
We set up a process playing on a quasi systematic accumulation. A rubbing is extracted from a stone. A mark with graphite already subjective and carrying in it the blur induced by the process. Redrawing this mark, scanning this interpretation, and retouching it to extract a pattern, which will be a linocut matrix. This matrix is printed on paper with different inks or the pattern is interpreted and weaved. The idea is to repeat gestures and manipulations to go beyond the first sight and the first impression of the desert. We also play with adding the sensitivity and the formal vocabulary of each craft technique (such as engraving and weaving of a Sarape).
We are also researching the gesture of wrapping stones in fabric. Like a mother swaddling her newborn baby, or like a daughter who covers her cold grandmother. The gesture of taking care has allowed us to make a connection with this land, with “those grandmothers the stones” as they say in Spanish in Mexico. As well as with our human condition in permanent contact with the textile. Indeed, the gesture of covering and protecting the body with fabric is present at all stages of our lives (birth, life, death), and this has been the case since the beginning of humanity. The universality of this relationship then resonates with the age of the place, the age of the stones, the age of these engravings. This gesture is declined according to the size of the selected stones, carried out alone or in a group and according to different mediums: installations, photographs, filmed performance.
Finally, we are conducting a great work regarding natural dyes at the Escuela del Sarape. The plants and pigments are found around here. Vernaculars, the colors come in a thousand shades. The pre-Hispanic recipes remain unchanged, others are reinvented. With dipping the wool in the dyeing vats, we are repeating the same ancestral gestures of the indigenous craftsmen.
The techniques of the Sarape are also revisited. The traditional Sarapes are bright pieces of hand weavings, with a colored and striped background, with geometrical patterns declined in the center and border of the weaving. The bright color gradient used in the background traditionally illustrates the burning sunsets of Saltillo. For this specific Sarape, we chose to depict the colors of the Coahuila desert, more earthy and neutral though vibrant. Inspired by aerial views recorded during the performance we carried, the Sarape weaves the link between the graphic work (pattern), the dying work, and the one completed in situ in the desert.
Workshops at the Taller de Grabado (engraving workshop) and at the Escuela del Sarape,
Excursions in the Gabillero desert, conferences and interviews with the students of the French Alliance of Saltillo.
Photo credits : Garance Maurer, Alianza Francesa de Saltillo, Mercedes Aqui, Laila Castillo, Edson Saldaña Rodríguez
(weft / grid)
Exhibition presented from May 30 to June 2, 2019 at the Museo de Artes Graficas de Saltillo.
Sarape, photographs, dyed wool, video, engravings, frottages, monotype. Research notebooks and sketches.
Co-creators: Jorge Armando Garcia Palomares, Juan Ruben Tamayo Sanchez, Maria Lopez Gutierrez, Laila Castillo, Carolina Monroy, Ana Sofia Ramos Hernandez, Mercedes Aqui
Thanks to Claire, Yahaira, Laila, Carolina, Sofy, Mercedes, Olga, Jorge, Ruben, Mary and Claudia.
Photo credits : Garance Maurer, Alianza Francesa de Saltillo
Explore the different steps :
︎ introduction and final restitution
︎ TENANGO DEL VALLE #1
︎ SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS #2
︎ MERIDA #3
︎ QUERETARO #4
︎ SAN LUIS POTOSI #5
︎ SALTILLO #6
︎ CIUDAD DE MEXICO #7