CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo

Irma Álvarez-Laviada #Unmetroymedio


In her beginnings as an artist, Irma Álvarez-Laviada (Gijón, 1978) focused on painting, but little by little her attention shifted to the discipline’s secondary elements, for example the materials used to protect paintings—wooden boxes or crates, cardboard packaging and protective elements like foam, resin and paper– which generally abound in artists’ studios. Now the very elements that ensure that an artwork can be transported safely are the very material with which she produces her work.

Almost one year ago a major solo show surveying her career opened at Fundación Cerezales. Called The Space Between Things, the exhibition was subtended by a language akin to minimalism, as suggested by the abstraction, the reduction to basic forms and the serialization. For instance, compact foam in standardized dimensions are framed to produce abstract paintings, but also sculptures with varying widths, and the normally protective function of museum quality glass is subverted as the material is now contradictorily an element to be protected. Different sheets of wood or chipboard, at times dyed with colours, are used to compose a sculpture that becomes a profile, reminiscent of archaeological strata, of how industry aesthetizes and designs materials destined to go unnoticed. Her work delimits painterly practice by confirming its institutional formalism.

Irma is currently working at Nave Oporto, a self-run artists’ space in Carabanchel. Following the crisis of 2018, shared studios were a widely adopted solution to artists’ needs for workspace.