Elena Del Rivero and Tere Recarens

After meeting in New York, the Spanish artists Elena del Rivero and Tere Recarens decided to work collaboratively, bringing together their distinct methods and personalities to the various works. “In Love (Entredos)” (In Love [in between]), the result of this alliance, illuminates the different ways two artists from the same country but of different generations might conceive of creating an artwork. Each is interested in making her work a projection of herself; the manner in which they approach this idea is what marks the difference.

Del Rivero became known in the early ’80s for landscape paintings with romantic overtones, in which she emphasized the importance of textures. Materials and their capacity to generate metaphors remain central to her aesthetic Despite the autobiographical weight that a great deal of her work carries, the manner in which she expresses herself is frequently elliptical and the clues to her intentions diffused Recarens (or Tere Spain, as she became known to visitors of P.S. 1), for her part, belongs to a generation of Spanish artists who emerged in the ’90s and gave their art a personal and autobiographical focus. But Recarens has shown her own life in a more stark and unfiltered manner than any of them.

A poster presided over the exhibition. The image seen here—a photograph by Katrin Thomas—showed del Rivero wrapping her younger collaborator in a blanket, an ambiguous image that recalls Baroque iconography. There was a certain sexual innuendo to it but even more, an implication that the older artist was protecting the younger one. The reality, however, is that despite the difference in age, their exhibition was based on a relationship between equals. For example, one of the works shown consisted of the numerous e-mails Recarens sent to del Rivero about the exhibition—More than simply a document about the process of putting together an exhibition—and the gap between plans and results—the work showed the difference between the artists: one who expresses, through the written, unveiled word, her doubts and desires; another who intervenes in these messages, adorning them with pearls, manipulated in different ways, whose symbolic weight is more allusive than explicit

This material quality reached a theatrical dimension in the central piece (called, like the exhibition itself, In Love, 2000), by del Rivero: a room whose walls were covered in pearls, which were also heaped up on the floor. Also, in a corner, a photograph (by Kyle Brooks) of the lower half of a woman’s body, from which pearls also fall. In the center of the room was a video by Recarens (with music composed by Hans-Peter Thomas), the rhythm and imagery of which is unusual for this artist: a static, prolonged image of the sun, followed by fragments in which elephants were seen tossing strings of pearls in the air. The symbolism was pushed to a humorous, even self-deprecating point. Is this how Recarens sees her relationship with del Rivero? In terms,of the subtlety of her companion, before whom she comes to feel her own coarseness, like that of an elephant getting hold of something as delicate as this necklace? Yet the work could only have been the product of an exchange of elements and forms specific to each artist, but which become mutually contaminated.

Pablo Llorca

Translated from Spanish by Michele Faguet.