Artist: Diego Delas
Exhibition title: Bajo el primer peldaño (Beneath the first step)
Curated by: Beatriz Alonso
Venue: Centro de Interpretación Nuevo Baztán, Madrid, Spain
Date: May 25 – July 15, 2017
Photography: Deseo Marquez, all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Centro de Interpretación Nuevo Baztán, Madrid
Site-specific installation. Dimensions variable.
Lime plaster and pigment, graphite and tin on waterproof shuttering plates and scaffolding wood.
Beneath the first step presents a body of work specifically made for the cellars of Palacio de Nuevo Baztán, a XVII century Palace turned into ethnographic museum on the outskirts of Madrid. Curated by Beatriz Alonso, it belongs to a series of art projects designed for non art-related peripheral museums. On this site specific installation, a series of gestures and inscriptions -related to superstition, labor, domestic space and the family home are reproduced, repeated and transcribed onto limeplaster plates- like those elaborated in the beams of barns for the cattle, and placed slightly hidden to the sight on the cellars –the soul of the home-.
The installation appears as product of the hybridization of the two main forces present in the place: inscriptions of protection and luck on the photographs belonging to the ethnographical archives of the museum plus the heavy ornamental inheritance of the architect José Benito de Churriguera, main figure in spanish baroque´s architecture and responsible for the design of Nuevo Baztán palace. As a result, Beneath the first step, constitutes in equal parts, an amulet and ornament, gesture and sign. On the one hand, inscription on lime mortar – a façade technique present in the cellar – and, on the other, as a diffusely ornate wooden support that presents motifs of growth and resurgence, progression in thread of a revisited and schematic Baroque.