Celia Gradín Montero

Artist and space creator, Celia Gradín (Pontevedra, 1963), has worked in La Coruña, London, Montreal, Montpellier, and Barcelona, where she currently resides. For this occasion, she presents in the Art & Schilling a summary of her past artistic career, from the first of her mobiles to her most recent productions centered around the creation of objects (furniture, glass boxes, lamps...), installations, decoration, and space creation. Her most recent exhibitions have taken place in Montpellier and Barcelona. In the French city she has participated in the collective exhibition of artistic exchange between Montpellier-Barcelona (1997), in individual exhibitions in the Hôtel Climat de France and in Poisson d'Avril (both in 1997). Her latest productions in Barcelona have been seen in the Original gallery (1996), Muebles Imposibles, in the Primavera del Disseny show (1997), Sol Sureda (1997), Escenes del Raval (Casa de la Caritat, 1998), and in the self-portrait workshop at the MACBA (1998), to name a few.
Concurrent with her first creations based on the fabrication of mobiles and mosaics (Flores in Mi Jardín,1995), Celia Gradín has worked in more traditional media like abstract oil painting (Laberinto Orgánico I, 1990 and Laberinto Orgánico II, 1991/6), full of color and representation of labyrinth-like organic forms. Her later experiences, of which the exhibition in Art & Schilling is an example, have been more along the lines of object creation, begun in her period of mobiles, mosaics, and light boxes. The various materials used in the this field, as can be seen in the exhibition, are extracted from daily surroundings (dyed wools, mirrors, cellophane, shards of glass, mosaic tiles, sand, stones, nets,...), alluding to the idea of fragmentation and construction of objects and to the need to express the artistic work as a form of personal meditation, manifesting visually the time past. Currently, this construction of objects has been converted into the construction of spaces.

Following her first mosaics, there is produced in her works an expansion toward other a rtistic experiences. She passes from the mosaic with its flat and opaque nature to her glass and light boxes -an evolution toward the world of transparence. In these, the space is organized in many levels of transparent mosaic. Color disappears and the sensation of timeless void as a form of self-seeking introspection prevails. Beyond this introspection comes an opening toward the observer. The light illuminates the immobile material. Agates suspended in nebulous sand are contrasted by the light shining through a background, symbolizing the contrast between the sky (light) and the earth (matter), void and matter. These creations are intended to demonstrate to the observer the sensation of having arrived at the complete, showing the ephemeral nature of an instant of life. If the gaze was before from the outside inward, it is now the inverse.
This process of reflection and artistic experimentation finally leads her to the creation of spaces, the area upon which her current work is based. In the installation that constitutes the final section of the exhibition is capsulized all of her previous thought. It alludes to the personal sentiment toward the bonds which she has encountered on her path and makes light of them. The underlying message that can be read into this installation, despite the clear allusion to the death of the personal experience of art, is one of optimism. The artist reaffirms what have always been her primary convictions: life and liberty manifested by the sounds of seagulls and the beating of a heart. In an era which seems to take for granted the impossibility of the artistic experience, Celia Gradín personally affirms that she has decided to continue.
Redacción: Marisa Herrero Membrado, historiadora del arte.