Saelia Aparicio at The Ryder

Saelia Aparicio The Ryder

Artist: Saelia Aparicio

Exhibition title: Planta, alzado, raíz* (Plant, Elevation, Root)

Venue: The Ryder, Madrid, Spain

Date: December 12, 2019 – February 15, 2020

Photography: Pablo Brecha / All images copyright and courtesy of the artist and The Ryder, Madrid/London

* Plant, Elevation, Root. In Spanish, the title references botanical language, as well as architectural systems of drawing, the dual meaning of ‘planta’ forges an interconnectivity between architectural structures and ecology.

Fallopia Japonica is the technical name for a plant. Not yet renowned in Spain, we can only learn about this plant through research into the biological nomenclature used to classify it. However, in other countries it is better known, and it is referred to by different names such as Japanese knotweed. The reason for this popularity has nothing to do with its healing powers or beauty, it lies in its invasive root system and strong growth, able to damage concrete foundations, buildings, flood defences, roads, paving, and architectural sites. It is paradoxical to think that in the middle of a climate crisis, produced by an economical system which has urbanistic speculation as a cornerstone, a small invasive root can destroy buildings.

Planta, Alzado, Raíz by the London based Spanish Artist Saelia Aparicio, operates within these types of paradoxical spaces, using a unique symbolic system to represent, but also to digest, a stark reality. The artist creates for this exhibition a speculative universe for the audience and invites them to imagine with her, creating an ecosystem of characters and situations that drives us, without guiding us, into this fascinating thing we call present. From invasive species, to housing problems or climate crisis, her work navigates within this convoluted momentum using whispers instead of statements, talking through the materials she uses, the objects she builds, the shapes she creates. This produces in the visitor the aim to imagine and think collectively about alternative futures.

Her sculptures, videos and installations shape a fictional world inside The RYDER Madrid. A world that filters between the cracks of collective imagination to exist in an in-between space, presenting hybrid bodies, built upon semantically loaded materials where what is human or not human blurs. The language Aparicio creates for this show inhabits an interstitial space in which a plant can caress a foundation, in which an empty house can feel the warmth of the people that it is no longer housing. For this exhibition what is terrifying is revealed with a sense of humour, in this way destabilizing our perception and inviting us to take a journey where other rules apply. A journey in which we can be plants or concrete, spores or microplastics, a journey in which we have to let ourselves go.