Artist's Talk -- The Contemplative Horizon of Cristina Rodrigues @ Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections
Free | Please book in advance via Eventbrite here
Image: The Rosary by Cristina Rodrigues. Courtesy the artist.
Cristina Rodrigues's practice bridges three fields that Ruskin linked in his vision of the Gothic: architecture, art and craft. 'The Kingdom of Heaven' altar frontals were designed by Rodrigues and embroidered by skilled craftspeople in Castelo Branco, Portugal, using a traditional form of embroidery. This support of traditional craft skills is very Ruskinian.
Cristina Rodrigues is a Portuguese creator with an important history of exhibitions in national and international art centres, who has developed absolutely personal works of art that go beyond the prevailing fashions. In her aesthetics, one can observe both an expansion of the pictorial, as well as the intense work of generating installations, as demonstrated by the extraordinary piece The Shroud (2016) or the environment of Sitting Through Life (2017). Cristina Rodrigues goes beyond the “heroic gestualism”, planning her pictorial processes, weaving and arranging the materials with extraordinary care, waiting for the spectator to enter a contemplative time. To a certain extent, this artist tries to sew the fragments of the world, generating a cordial space and, of course, appealing not only to intelligence but also to passion.
This artist exhibition and talk presented at the Special Collections in Manchester enables the viewer to contemplate a careful selection of Cristina Rodrigues’ works. During the talk, the different symbolic reasons and artistic procedures that this creator develops will be explained. Embroideries, drawings, paintings, sculptures and installations, arranged with an adjusted installation criterion, offer a very seductive aesthetic Horizon.
Objects have a different life in the works of Cristina Rodrigues, whether they be shoes, furniture, hearts, feet or little angels made of ceramics, they are available for her to draw another narrative. The fantasy of the body in pieces moves in the imaginary of this Portuguese artist, beyond the conception of fluid-subversive subjectivity, to symbolize a desire for fulfilment, a sort of compassionate restitution in a certainly deranged world.
In a certain sense, her works are dream-like projections, as can be seen in her beautiful series Garden of Eden (2017) that seems to allegorize a return to the paradisiacal scenario but without the shadow of sin, with the splendour of the colours that seduce us. The works of Cristina Rodrigues exhibit and veil the mystery of beauty, which try to recover aesthetic pleasure and give an account of the deep passion that arises from the act of looking. It is the woven body in all of Cristina Rodrigues’ works that challenges and seduces us, that cordial fabric that invites us to sit and enter into poetic contemplation. - Fernando Castro Flórez.