Borrón y cuenta nueva
A wooden box painted with a wild landscape on the lid was the carrying case for hundreds of novelty eraser collected by an Australian in his childhood. Won through hard-fought games at school or bought with precious pocket money, his treasures soon began to grow into a significant collection. The paint-daubed box was to be a constant companion to the itinerant Australian who carried them all throughout his travels. Once here, he decided to pass them onto a worthy recipient, Isabel Herrera. Founder of Taller de Joyería el Lavadero, the Venezuelan TV and stage actress and jeweller is the instigator of this magical and utterly unique exhibition, which includes work by 85 artists from 20 countries.
Each artist chose one rubber, blind, by touch alone; delving into the box while wearing a blindfold. The chosen item then served to set off an artwork, piece of jewellery, sculpture or picture; the idea being to pay homage to the collectors’ past stories inherent in each piece.
Gemma Draper’s Babel-Tech, features an old typewriter rubber, that now sits perched high up on an inaccessible frame, out of time and place and incommunicado. Jordà Ferrè’s Statue of Liberty is placed in a glass dome case; when turned on, it’s a little electric heater, where music, lights and sparks fly. Emilie Bliguiet’s eraser was a strawberry but is now a ‘brain’, with delicate silver leaves springing out and has embossed words such as ‘sensations’ and ‘comprehension’. More accessible is Beate B. Kohler’s creation which touches on the collector’s origins by gathering sand and sticks from a trip to Australia and using them as a setting for her rubber: a parasol. She’s made silver rings, impossible to wear, with diving boards and swimmers, a playful miniature world.
Housed in an old, one-time washhouse, the Taller de Joyería is now a creative workshop space. It was a meeting place for women to bring their washing, to talk and to share stories. Now these artists have produced new stories from a treasured collection of seemingly inconsequential items, all joining to celebrate collecting as an art form as well as a childhood pastime.
Borrón y cuenta nueva. Taller de Joyería el Lavadero, San Rafael 14 (Raval), until May 30th, 2011