“…in these 18 days, I wanted to come to the jungle because, for the past 3 years, I have been going through a very strong health process. I started losing my hearing progressively, and at this point, I hear only 50% of what a healthy person hears, needing hearing aids. This, along with intense emotional processes, led me to think a lot about sound. As I managed to get hearing aids, I began to hear more sounds that I had already lost, the birds, the insects—suddenly, the world of sound began to come alive for me. I had always been more visual, painting, and embroidering, and I had never realized that; hence, I began this more auditory quest. So, I wanted to come here to also listen to these sounds; it’s very rich in terms of sound, besides being visual. I intended to come and listen to what I can still hear because I don’t know if I will continue to lose it, and to translate those sounds into visuals. To create a visual map of what I hear here, something they call kinesthetic. Like sounds that can be seen or visual aspects that can be heard, that’s what I was interested in exploring.
I’ve been making some drawings that are inside, and I had some space here to experiment with natural dyes; I’ve also been embroidering for many years. I wanted it to be a textile piece where I could paint with these dyes we prepared but also embroider it. I wanted it to function like layers because sound exists in many layers. In the background, we hear something far away, then something closer, and then there’s a little bird here, and it’s heard closer. So, I wanted to play with that.
Then, in the process, this piece burned due to the cold; the fire burned the fabric, and I lost that part. And that opened up a new world for me because I would either lose the piece and be left without work or rethink it a bit, and it’s like empty spaces. It also had something to do with working on this embroidery and the emptiness that relates to the spider web, pieces that are also part of nature and move with the wind. While talking to my colleagues, we also realized that sound travels through the air. So, hanging them made sense to give them a sound. I have also been observing a lot of the spider webs here, everywhere.
Initially, I used to set threads there, a kind of spider web, similar to that, but with the cold of these days, it would be destroyed in the morning, but it was like experiments, things I was trying.
In the end, I arrived at something that is like a kind of patchwork, pieces of fabric attached, and everything is dyed in natural dyes, with matico, sweet potato, turmeric, mahogany, and annatto. Everything here, all the colors, comes from nature. I was also interested in that if I was going to put it in nature, these elements would also be friendly to insects, to the same tree, as if they wouldn’t be intervened with anything chemical.”
Amaranta Úrsula Espinoza
June 17th, 2023, explanation of the piece at the opening of the exhibition for the closure of the artist in residence of Centro Selva Arte y Ciencia titled “Earth to Inhabit” at the Blue House.
The exhibition “Tierra para Habitar” was presented as an open studio, an exhibition in which visitors can not only observe finished works but also immerse themselves in the creative processes. In this rural context, it allows us to rethink and expand the possibilities of presenting the pieces. Far from the “White Cube,” the works directly engage with their surroundings; they are an integral part of the environment. In the case of Amaranta’s work, it integrates with the landscape and the wind.
Amaranta captivates us with sensitive pieces that are part of much more extensive and complex processes, experienced physically and, in turn, prompting profound reflection in her artistic work.
The opportunity to contemplate these pieces and have the artist explain them, along with detailed knowledge of her process, was a pleasure that the attending audience appreciated and that allowed them to feel more connected.
As the artist recounts, her pieces blend various elements experienced during her residency, such as the dyeing of different tones and the observation of the abundant spiderwebs in the surroundings. Fortuitous elements, like the accident with the burnt fabric, are incorporated and give rise to new dialogues, thus emerging new elements in the reflection of her work, such as the wind that carries the sound, building through layers, and transcending the solid and visible.
The hanging pieces, moving to the rhythm of the wind, offer a sensation of intrinsic sound and fluidity. Delicate details in textiles and threads in soft tones provide the feeling of elements interacting gently, imitating or visualizing the wind and sound components.
At the beginning of the residency, Amaranta mentioned that she had experienced an extensive period of collective and socially connected work and expressed interest in continuing to address individual and personal work. We eagerly anticipate observing the paths Amaranta’s work will take in the future.
You can follow Amaranta through her Instagram account at: https://www.instagram.com/amarantaursula.e/
Diana Riesco Lind