The modernist architect Adolf Loos in his famous essay “Ornament and crime” (1929) defended the “immoral” and the “degenerate” of ornament -of adornment- especially in utilitarian objects. Today the borders between art and decoration, minimalism and ornament, or art and craft are becoming more fluid, more liquid. Also, trends and fads are blurred and confused with each other, Estefanía Martín Sáenz‘s work (Bilbao, Spain, 1982) deals with the dormant meanings the ornamental images have (from the wallpaper patterns to the fabric prints and the embroideries, whether digital or hand-made), in which design has an essential role. Among the arabesques that appear in those geometric or floral motifs, the artist, like in a peekaboo game, uncover a world full of hidden beings and characters.
Estefanía‘s poetry is characterized by a unique process of the female universe and its feelings, where sweetness and delicateness, charm and seduction -in conclusion, the “positive” clichés culturally associated with women: charming, obedient, ethereal, devoted, innocent, selfless- appear inseparable from their opposites. Thus, cruelty and pain brew in these works in an unhibited way to leave us with the ambivalence of the different interpretations. Loos stated that “no one can live without any adornment today at our cultural level… Freeing oneself from adornment is a sign of spiritual strength.” Possibly the work of Estefanía sails through these turbulent waters and precisely its ambiguity is what makes us enjoy it the most.Curated by Juan Curto.
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