Eva Lootz

Galeria Ciento

Eva Lootz was born and educated in Vienna, where she received a strong intellectual foundation, but her work has long been well known in Spain. She moved to Madrid in 1968 and had her first solo show there in 1973. From the beginning, Lootz adopted an approach to materials that favored the existential and analytic over the esthetic, producing work that affirmed Descartes’ famous syllogism in its inverted form: “I am, therefore I think.” Her approach is somewhat process-oriented in that it involves, as she puts it, a strategy of dynamic intervention in what she sees as the continuous flux of existence, the aggregate of things and the idea of things. Each work articulates a “segment” in this flux, creating a momentary pause in the inexorable flow of “real time” and permitting us to experience two other tempos: that of the artist, and that of the material/image on which she works. Hence her bias toward organic materials (paraffin, cotton, wood, etc.). Objects for Lootz are phenomena that cannot be explained as effects without causes, but must be defined indirectly, as if through an interpreter—by poetic leaps rather than rationally, making the existential and physical components essential.

At an earlier stage Lootz would have rejected any discourse qualifying the “formal action” of her work, which was neutral, avoiding imagery and concentrating on texture and material qualities. But at the end of the ’70s, she began to work in a less restrictive manner, seeking a configuration of image/signs in which the form and what it signified would coincide completely with the material presence (for example, in Lengua, 1983, a vermilion tongue in felt and cracked lacquer), or one in which the “formal action” would be less abstract than before through the mediation of architecture or poetic landscape, where scale is a fundamental catalyst. In a more recent, untitled, mixed-media work included in this show, a bifurcated wooden beam ends in two oblique segments, each culminating in a mound of ashes. The work supports all sorts of interpretations: symbolic tree? forking path in an emotional landscape? The many mixed-media works on paper that were in the show seem equally open to interpretation: simple sketches of crudely drawn objects (a boat, a spiral connected to a house) juxtaposed on the page in an extremely pure play of plastic tension and release. It is precisely this sense of freedom that captures the spirit of our time, for dogma is no longer blindly followed as in the past. To choose a particular path then was a partisan act within the cultural discourse; now it is simply part of our poetry.

Gloria Moure

Translated from the Spanish by Hanna Hannah.