Pedro De Llano, 2008

Exit Publications

Maider López is an artist with a brief but intense career. From the beginning, her work has been marked by the exploration of the field of possibilities that opened up with the criticism of abstract painting in the sixties and seventies. From Dan Flavin to Blinky Palermo and from Daniel Buren to Helio Oiticica, many were the artists trying to surpass the limits of easel painting and, with them, the conventions of an entire society.

Almost forty years later, some artists from the generation to which Maider López belongs have resumed this project, though under very different circumstances; after 1989, the rhetoric that existed in 1968, which questioned the social values keeping painting alive, was almost completely emptied of meaning.

However, this change does not mean that her works are more conformist. On the contrary, the heirs of the sixties strive to transform the places where their pieces are located, with a set of tools interestingly derived from the examination of elements that, in the neo-avant-gardes, remained latent, yet were never completely developed. Specilically, these were the fusion of art with design and the appearance of a certain value of use, two characteristics that undoubtedly deline Maider López’s work.

Therefore, if we pay close attention to pieces and interventions such as Campo de fútbol (2003), Toldos (2003), Ataskoa (2005) and Playa Itzurun (2005), we shall see that the formal elements the artist uses to emphasize particur aspects of space, such as colour, geometry and volume, are usually at the service of a situation conveying a certain functionality, which is always more symbolic than literal. In the football field, for example, the lines imitate the structure of those that are conventional in this type of enclosure, yet only to give rise to a drawing completely different from the original. Consequently, the formal resources are put to the service of difference. They are put to the service of the creation of a reality parallel to the real one with a value of virtual use that invites each viewer (or should that be in the plural?) to imagine alternative function for that scene.

In other works, the interconnection between the formal elements, functionality and context are approached in different ways. In the case of Playa Itzurun, for example, the red colour of the towels of the people who were sunbathing at Itzurun beach on the 18th al August 2005, takes on a surprising meaning. There, the juxtaposition of a leisurely crowd with the colour that has traditionally been associated with revolution acquires an that oscillates between subversive and ironic. This way, Maider López seems to suggest that, at present, the possibility of a radical change will come about only on a micro-political level, through small unnoticed gestures that, like her work, modify specific and delimited aspects of reality with media as humble as they are effective and imaginative.

Pedro de LLano.

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