Mercedes Azpilicueta

Susurros barrocos | Barockes Flüstern

11.11.2022 - 05.03.2023
Opening: 10 November 2022, 6–9 pm

The Philara Collection is pleased to present the first solo exhibition in Germany by internationally renowned artist Mercedes Azpilicueta (b. 1981 in La Plata, Argentina). The artistic practice of Amsterdam-based artist Azpilicueta ranges across performance, drawings, textile works, video art and installation, giving voice to queer, feminist and marginalised figures. In fluid, associative connections, she counters rigid historical narratives, seeking to dismantle them and make room for affective and dissident voices to emerge. Her works are inspired by speculative and fictional Latino literature, the history of (neo-)Baroque art, decolonial history, contemporary popular culture, and various aspects of craft techniques and textile production.


Mercedes Azpilicueta’s most recent artistic research focuses on exploration of the identities of figures from the past who have moved outside the commonplace. The works in the exhibition are also connected through an ‘anachronistic’ interest in the Baroque. Employing images by Artemisia Gentileschi, a retelling of the obscure story of a ‘Lieutenant Nun’ in the 1600s, Baroque-era clothing styles, such as the codpiece, as well as neo-Baroque ghosts, Azpilicueta reconstructs the past, restoring an atemporal synchronicity and bringing stories to life with memory and imagination. The works in the exhibition thus combine Baroque style with glitter-drenched queer nightlife, bondage culture, and other aspects of gender identity and restrictions placed upon the body. 


Mercedes Azpilicueta studied at the Universidad de las Artes, Buenos Aires, the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires, the ArtEZ University of the Arts, Arnhem, the Netherlands, and the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam. Since 2021 she has been head of TXT (Textile) Department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. Mercedes Azpilicueta has been nominated for the prestigious Prix de Rome (2021) and the Frieze Art Award (2018). She was awarded the VIII Marta García-Fajardo International Art Prize (2021) and the ARCO Prize for Young Artists (2019), among others. Her works have been shown internationally in solo exhibitions, including at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2021), CAC Brétigny, Brétigny-sur-Orge, France (2021), Gasworks, London, UK (2021), Museion, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Bolzano, Italy (2020), Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Netherlands (2020), CentroCentro, Madrid, Spain (2019) and Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, Argentina (2018). In addition, her works have been included in international group exhibitions, triennials, biennials and festivals, including the BP.21 Bienal de Performance, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2022), Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz (2022), the Arcadia Triennial, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands (2022), the Hannah Ryggen Trienniale, Trondheim, Norway (2022), the Times Art Center Berlin, Germany (2021), the MAXXI Museum, Rome, Italy (2021), the Busan Biennale, South Korea (2020), the 11th Biennal d'Art Leandre Cristòfol, Centre d'Art la Panera, Lleida, Spain (2019) and the Bienal Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo de América del Sur, Museo Genaro Pérez, Córdoba, Argentina (2019). 


Breathing Water, Drinking Air

Collection presentation

12.08.2022 - 25.06.2023
Opening: 11.08.2022, 4-9 pm

Jan Albers, Sam Anderson, Gili Avissar, Maximiliane Baumgartner, Hicham Berrada, Julius von Bismarck, Katinka Bock, Andrea Bowers, Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg, Alex Grein, Thomas Grünfeld, Petrit Halilaj, Nschotschi Haslinger, Camille Henrot, Anne Imhof, Allison Katz, Zsófia Keresztes, Per Kirkeby, Kinke Kooi, Corinne von Lebusa, Rosa Loy, Rosilene Luduvico, David Nash, Susan Philipsz, Laure Prouvost, Thomas Scheibitz, Anna Vogel, Raphaela Vogel


The Philara Collection is pleased to announce the opening of its comprehensive new collection presentation, Breathing Water, Drinking Air. To demonstrate its wide range and the diverse points of interconnection that stem from the exuberance and asymmetrical directions of a passion for collecting, works are juxtaposed in new correlations and with a specific theme. 


The presentation shows never previously exhibited works, while also offering new perspectives on those already familiar. It encompasses both international and local contemporary art, including photography, painting, video, sculpture, installation, and performance. Breathing Water, Drinking Air engages with reflection within and on nature, and the hierarchisation of humanity and nature. The thematic focus of the exhibition is on permeable boundaries, exchange and interaction, as well as nature’s capacity to act in times often termed the ‘Anthropocene’, where the relationship between humanity and nature has fundamentally changed. The precious and evocative resources of air and water represent here a world of unknown existences, as well as fundamental concepts that disclose new perspectives. Breathing and drinking are understood not only as activities essential for provision and survival but also as elements of the renegotiation of relations between humanity and the environment in overcoming anthropocentrism. Thus, the works on show also stimulate questions on new narratives, and sensitivity to our mutual connectivity and permeability. To what extent can we use artistic means to acquire new knowledge about our physical, biological, chemical, and spiritual world? What do these works reveal to us about our capacity to make contact and establish dialogue, and about our forms of coexistence?



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