Mercedes Azpilicueta at Gasworks

Artist: Mercedes Azpilicueta

Exhibition title: Bondage of Passions

Venue: Gasworks, London, UK

Date: May 19 – July 4, 2021

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Gasworks, London

Gasworks presents the first UK solo exhibition by Amsterdam-based artist Mercedes Azpilicueta. Her work brings together marginal historical figures, fictional characters and gendered mythologies from South America’s colonial past.

Fuelled by collaborations with dancers, writers, researchers and craftspeople, her installations often take the form of intricate set designs, theatrical props, soundtracks and scores for a live performance that doesn’t yet exist, therefore inviting the viewer to take centre stage.

Calling herself a ‘dishonest researcher’, Azpilicueta navigates across multiple geographies, chronologies and fields of knowledge, ranging from literature and art history to popular music and street culture, in a loving pursuit of subversive and contested historical figures —queer, feminist, exiled and unheard voices from the past— who haunt her videos, sculptures and textiles.

The exhibition at Gasworks offers a speculative vision of Catalina de Erauso, a 17th-century nun from the Basque Country who travelled to the New World, where s/he lived under male identities and became a ruthless conquistador at the service of the Spanish Empire. Azpilicueta’s show presents newly-commissioned Jacquard tapestries alongside a new body of sculptures, costumes and props.

Mercedes Azpilicueta’s exhibition is commissioned and produced by Gasworks. Gasworks commissions are supported by Catherine Petitgas and Gasworks Exhibitions Supporters. Azpilicueta’s exhibition is commissioned and produced by Gasworks.

A public programme including panel discussions and newly-commissioned online works by artists and writers will accompany the exhibition.

Mercedes Azpilicueta is an artist born in La Plata, Argentina. She was an artist in residence at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam in 2015-16, and received the Pernod Ricard Fellowship in 2017. Solo exhibitions include Museion, Bozen (2020); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2019); CentroCentro, Madrid (2019); and MAMBA, Buenos Aires (2018). Her work has been featured at Villa Vassilieff, Paris; REDCAT Gallery, Los Angeles; MACBA, Barcelona (all 2018); CA2M, Móstoles (2017); Onomatopee, Eindhoven (2016); TENT, Rotterdam (2015); and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2014). Azpilicueta has been nominated for the 2021 Prix de Rome.

Mercedes Azpilicueta, Bondage of Passions, 2021. Installation view. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate

Mercedes Azpilicueta, Bondage of Passions, 2021. Installation view. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate

Mercedes Azpilicueta, The Delinquent Breeches, 2021. Textile sculpture (Merino wool, cotton, wool felt, wood), 112 x 50 x 155 cm. Photo: Andy Keate

Mercedes Azpilicueta, Bondage of Passions, 2021. Installation view. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate

Mercedes Azpilicueta, On the Dignity of Codpieces, detail, 2021. Series of sculptures made from leftover fabrics (wool felt, Merino wool, cotton, viscose, metallic yarn, holographic vinyl, cord), various dimensions. Photo: Andy Keate

Mercedes Azpilicueta, Relaciones peligrosas, 2021. Holographic vinyl, variable dimensions. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate

Mercedes Azpilicueta, Bondage of Passions, 2021. Installation view. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks. Courtesy of the artist. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate

Mercedes Azpilicueta, Abya Yala (Tierra Madura), 2021. Jacquard tapestry (Merino wool, cotton, metallic yarn), 160 x 200cm. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate

Mercedes Azpilicueta, On the Dignity of Codpieces, 2021. Series of sculptures made from leftover fabrics (wool felt, Merino wool, cotton, viscose, metallic yarn, holographic vinyl, cord), various dimensions. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate

Mercedes Azpilicueta, On the Dignity of Codpieces, detail, 2021. Series of sculptures made from leftover fabrics (wool felt, Merino wool, cotton, viscose, metallic yarn, holographic vinyl, cord), various dimensions. Photo: Andy Keate

Mercedes Azpilicueta, On the Dignity of Codpieces, detail, 2021. Series of sculptures made from leftover fabrics (wool felt, Merino wool, cotton, viscose, metallic yarn, holographic vinyl, cord), various dimensions. Photo: Andy Keate

Mercedes Azpilicueta, On the Dignity of Codpieces, detail, 2021. Series of sculptures made from leftover fabrics (wool felt, Merino wool, cotton, viscose, metallic yarn, holographic vinyl, cord), various dimensions. Photo: Andy Keate

Mercedes Azpilicueta, Bondage of Passions, 2021. Installation view. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks. Courtesy of the artist. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate

Mercedes Azpilicueta, The Trans-forming Armour, 2021. Textile sculpture (wool felt, viscose, metallic yarn, mannequin torso, holographic paper, wood), 182 x 75 x 155 cm. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate

Mercedes Azpilicueta, Bondage of Passions, 2021. Installation view. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate

Mercedes Azpilicueta, The Lieutenant-Nun Is Passing: An Autobiography of Katalina, Antonio, Alonso and More, detail, 2021. Jacquard tapestry (Merino wool, cotton, metallic yarn), 160 x 400 cm. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate

Mercedes Azpilicueta, The Lieutenant-Nun Is Passing: An Autobiography of Katalina, Antonio, Alonso and More, detail, 2021. Jacquard tapestry (Merino wool, cotton, metallic yarn), 160 x 400 cm. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate

Mercedes Azpilicueta, The Lieutenant-Nun Is Passing: An Autobiography of Katalina, Antonio, Alonso and More, detail, 2021. Jacquard tapestry (Merino wool, cotton, metallic yarn), 160 x 400 cm. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate

Mercedes Azpilicueta, Abya Yala (Tierra Madura), detail, 2021. Jacquard tapestry (Merino wool, cotton, metallic yarn), 160 x 200cm. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate