Critics’ Picks

Leonor Serrano Rivas, Limbs describe curves, 2015, video, 12 minutes 38 seconds.

Leonor Serrano Rivas, Limbs describe curves, 2015, video, 12 minutes 38 seconds.


Leonor Serrano Rivas

Galería Marta Cervera
C/. Valencia, 28
September 10–October 10, 2015

The video and half dozen sculptures in Leonor Serrano Rivas’s first solo exhibition in Madrid touch on an array of topics related to the performing attributes of bodies and objects. At the space’s entrance, a lightly swinging surface like the curtain of a theater displays a projected video titled Limbs describe curves, 2015. It comprises a set of instructions that enable followers to undertake an emulation of nature, a sort of manual purporting to teach “how to imitate the wind” or “how to make a cloud move across the stage.” It is a captivating work that finds its origin—and its pedagogical stance, in particular—in a book on Renaissance theater.

The nature-based movements are enacted in a dance studio by dancers wearing pastel-colored outfits that evoke early quattrocento Florentine paintings. The stiffness one would expect of those executing a set of instructions is soon mitigated by a breezy sense of the unpredictable; bodies circulate across the space, testing notions of movement, balance, and rhythm while challenging the limits of the script. The curving hall that hosts the projection connects both with the architecture of the gallery and with the viewers themselves, and so does a wooden floor, found in some indoor sports hall and fragmented and reassembled here.

The concept of instruction is emphasized by the sculptures behind the curtain—and seemingly positioned behind the stage in a dimly lit area. The instructions in the video and the titles of the three-dimensional works are often the same, as the sculptures indeed function as a key to understanding how bodies and objects intermingle their roles, the former turning inert, the latter breathing life.