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ROMINA RIVERO artista contemporánea, art contemporary, aliento vital,vacío,dualidad, libertad




installation of variable dimensions

100.000 dyed bamboo sticks

CIC EL ALMACEN (César Manrique)


Acknowledging the wound and healing it   by NEREA UBIETO (exhibition curator)

Romina Rivero is a sensitive woman in the purest sense of the word. The word comes from the Latin -sensibilis- and means "who can perceive sensations". Her ability to detect changes is manifested in relation to other bodies, individual or collective, past or present, material or spiritual. The result is a work that translates all this potential through an aesthetic of subtlety and intuition. From this perspective, it is only natural she felt deeply challenged upon her arrival at the Konvent artist residence (Berguedà, Barcelona). The centre occupies the buildings of an old abandoned textile colony, Cal Rosal, whose history dates back to the mid-19th century when the Rosal brothers built a factory next to the Llobregat River to harness the energy of the water. The industry expanded and the settlement incorporated buildings and services around it: housing for the workers, the church, the convent, the hospital, the cinema, etc. At the end of the century, the Carmelite sisters administered the convent, which served as a workers' residence for the young workers, as well as a school for the children and a canteen. During the civil war, the management of the colony was taken over by a committee of the CNT (National Confederation of Labour), which reused the space as a refuge and a place for Republican assemblies. At the end of the war, the masters, the nuns, and religious education returned. The colony experienced a period of labour splendour until a crisis began in the 1980s that led to the factory's definitive closure in 1992.


This group of historical and human subjects served Romina Rivero as an immediate stimulus and the basis for the present project, in which all of her interests in the forms of control of life and bodies are deployed. On the one hand, the structure of the colony refers to the paradigmatic Foucauldian model of disciplining divided into institutions of power. The artist selects and photographs four locations –the factory, the dwellings, the hospital and the chapel– representative of such authorities in order to locate the damage, heal it and dignify it through art. We should not forget that spaces are bodies that contain other bodies –visible or invisible– and their energy communicates and makes itself felt.


The wounds of the people who inhabited them over time emerge in them: The wound of work, full of endless hours in which the individuals become machines; the wound of war, made up of hundreds of victims who led the fight; the wound of gender, full of women who suffered injustice, persecution and the curtailment of their rights and freedoms; the wound of religion, the origin of Christian guilt and a tool for the manipulation of thought; and the wound of health, inflicted through deceit, medical corruption and the hegemony of pharmaceutical companies.


All of them were perpetrated centuries ago but remain open and unhealed. Romina Rivero acknowledges them and brings them to light to raise awareness and soothing them.


In the images, the artist symbolically seals the wounds through a surgical suture procedure with the utmost care and respect, revealing the space behind through lace fabric –a tribute to the invisible work of women– that ennobles the contained memories. However, the best way to restore the bodies’ natural balance is to avoid the need to be cured. The principle Primum non nocere/first, do no harm is to take care –a Latin phrase attributed to Hippocrates– emphasises prevention and the preference not to act without first assessing the possible effects. The use of surgery or drugs can lead to worse consequences than the natural development of a disease. Western medical practice in general pursues strategies that have little or nothing to do with real health. Their way of proceeding is just the opposite: first operate, medicate, solve, patch up, cover up a problem that will eventually become entrenched or will sprout in a more virulent form in time. This is a clinical discourse based on power, standardisation, and the subjugation of bodies that is far distant from bioethical praxis. Fortunately, there are alternative medicines and philosophies of Eastern origin that acquire unquestionable weight within the exhibition, offering another possible alternative.


In Romina Rivero's work, the wise advice that gives the exhibition its title extends to the social and political sphere to make us reflect on the problems of our present. To do, to work, to maximise time is the productivist mantra that governs the current era. We think we have overcome the slavery of the factory, but it has only changed form. Control has moved from the outside in, from the scheduled timetable to the programming of minds.  The levels of self-demand and the priority of relentless action drive bodies to exhaustion. In a society that seeks quick and easy solutions, it is logical that the norm is to treat the symptom rather than the source of the problem, or that aggressive methods predominate over proactive ones. The proverb Primum non nocere should reverberate in the heads of all individuals, especially those who perpetrate violence. Invasion and attack are always routes to loss: of lives, of ethics, of balance, of nature, of humanity.  It makes no sense to put them into practice.


Two installations complete the exhibition. A group of corporealities, suspended like chrysalises in the central hall, overwhelm us with their spiritual presence. They are those who resided in the disciplinary spaces; their torsos have been repaired - physically and emotionally –and await a new awakening. From larvae to butterflies, from being fragments to flying free. The space of the dome is filled with scattered red incense, reminiscent of the red flowers (carnations, poppies) to remember the fallen and the fallen in combat. As in the East, the purpose is to honour not only the ancestors, but also the victims, to relieve their energy field. The scent of bitter orange has the therapeutic quality of healing the deepest sorrows of the soul.


Romina Rivero invites the spectator to let themselves become enraptured by the scent to re-establish their equilibrium. The victims she speaks of do not only belong to the past: today, we continue to suffer the effects of the contemporary panopticon, and it is necessary to continue healing.

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