Pilar Albarracín

Kewenig Galerie

It may not be a hard-and-fast guarantee of quality when a work of art brings a broad smile to your face the minute you set eyes on it, but an appeal to the pleasure principle is no bad sign. Such was the effect on me of Pilar Albarracín’s Techo de ofrendas (Ceiling of Offerings), 2004, an installation consisting of hundreds of colorful, ruffled flamenco dresses bunched together to fill the overhead space of the Kewenig Galerie. Of course it’s a great joke for a Spanish artist having her first one-person show abroad to play on stereotyped images of her homeland, yet there is something so tender and loving about the allusion: That floating mass of color, and the tactile richness with which it is embodied, are nothing short of gorgeous.

The idea of offering, alluded to in the work’s title, refers to a Spanish custom according to which women may bring dresses to church as donations, like

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