In this text, it is important to differentiate the two meanings of the Spanish word “forma” which correspond to their English equivalents shape and form. The former refers only to the visible or tangible material shape, while the latter alludes to the configuration, encompassing here what is structural and not directly observed by the senses. Introducción a la versión española de Arte y percepción visual [Introduction to the Spanish version of Art and visual perception], R. Arnheim. Alianza Forma, 1981.

 “A creative act, a work of art can reach completion only through the dialogue with the viewer, that is to say, with you, kind visitor.”

Duchamp, lecture at the Convention of the American Federation of Arts in Houston, Texas. 1957

Something that did not come into being in Art, but did so in the author’s life, has not begun the process of domestication, of education, that is to say. It grows without public awareness, but is active-awareness for the author. Pre-format, notes running from my years at the Fine Arts School through to the present day.

Mouths, ceramic, 1984?

Made in ceramic and porcelain back in my Fine Arts time, I guess I was about 20. They work as a device. It’s a resource I occasionally implement in my works. As they don’t function as actual pieces, they find a place in the pre-format notion.


La Coloniale. Drawing, fabric, collage. Might be 1997, I think.

Girl with outstretched hands, although she is actually a teenager with Afro hair. The girl’s hair and the pubic hair is made with a velvety maroon-coloured flower they use in the Basque Country to make death wreaths; it flowers in the autumn. The salmon fabric for the dress is a piece of my grandmother or great-grandmother’s nightgown. There are white canvas gloves they use in the building industry, and a ring that is a plumbing piece. Materials of all sorts of different origins which were for some reason important to me, as they set up a dialectic between the materials and the world. With my memory.

Installation view and detail

The other pieces in the installation, illuminated with lights also deal with the same issues of memory.

There are mouths that open, conceal, expel…

Three half-open dark crimson silken boxes bordered up and down with a row of nib points. These mouths have different aperture spaces. In some, the objects inside can be seen, a marble, for instance, while in others that are more closed two-coloured latex tubes appear; they might contain an X-ray of my nose or barnacle tips that fit perfectly into the holes in the tubes.

Drawing and collage on tracing paper and lips with lipstick print. These pieces belong to Diary, Banalities.

Diario Banalidades [Journal of Trivia], 1992-96

I made myself work every single day on a canvas measuring 11×11”. (Mixed technique, painting, drawing, collage, found objects). The days when for whatever reason I couldn’t work were represented by a blank canvas. I used some pieces to construct and “work on” other works, because this journal acted as a springboard for ideas.

Ovalos [Ovals]

I worked a lot with this shape although there is only a small sample of it here. They ran in groups of 2 or 3 that plaited naturally with one another. I was seriously interested in botany and observed the way plants intertwine in the bodies of others: what are they after? Some of the pieces are aggressive. There are slate points found in my studio at Columbia University while they were repairing the roof. They appear to penetrate the canvas like a knife.

Fabric as body or skin has a strong presence in my work from the 1990s in NYC. AIDS contributes to it because it is there in our lives, in the way we relate, in our fears, our friends. Everything is enveloped in this fear. The body becomes fragile, it can be wounded both physically and emotionally.

Bit by bit I leave painting behind; I conserve the format, though, incorporating objects that I come across in my day-to-day in the city. When I work in museums I collect children’s drawings, especially in outreach programmes; the pencil strokes especially fascinated me, that fury as they press down with the crayon, as if they want to hurt the paper. It is trance and frustration.

Art for me is a way of understanding the world. A practice where I watch myself thinking, aware of what I’m thinking.

Drawings and collage of different materials covered with methacrylate, painted over, and framed with masking tape. They don´t necessary have to go all together, they don´t even have much to do with each other. 1997

Vitrinas [Display cabinets], Sala Rekalde, 1994

These cabinets were not exactly what you’d call glamorous so I decided to paint them super indigo blue, leaving some wee holes for people to peek through, like a sort of peephole. The objects inside attempt to recreate the moment when you’re still trying to build something, mulling over the possibilities. It’s a mental striptease. The cabinet acts as a container in which you freeze the tempos that run round your head.

Japan, photos, plasticine, ceramic, plants, etc. 1998-99

They’ve never been shown. This production followed a rather intense trip to Japan, which I returned from driven by the urgent need to get down to my work. I was influenced by photos of octopuses and creatures that I took in the fish market. Their wrappings, colours and distribution. I think my mutants retain much of the way they were displayed on those market stalls.

I also felt I had to root out kimonos from way back when, cut them up and create a whole series showing scenography that contextualizes them within a “Destruction RE- construction history”. A nexus of resilience, of overcoming. Pressing on with the lesson well learnt and without letting circumstances bring you down.

I did it with the red one (female) and with the black (male) kimono also. The second of them I have never shown before.

These sculptures were combined with photographs taken during the trip to Japan. They are of octopuses and fish in the Tokyo market, and are also different ways of ordering, aligning, tying and folding; of organizing one world to enter the other. There are baby Buddhas with little red crocheted hats placed on stone sculptures. A pre-Manga army of mystical babies, a childlike substance that sprang up around gardens and alleyways like those naïve macumbas in Brazil that try to communicate with the beyond.

The baby Buddhas did not flourish in my later work, though the octopuses actually did, acting as a point of departure for the Mutants and other pieces.

Sea horses bought in a Chinese Pharmacy,(they are used as a remedy for the back pain) and ceramic, 1998

Live reflexión of a dead sea horse. Sea horse with make up on, mirror and glass.Parker´s Box. NY.2010


I picked up these huge pods on a walk around Urca, Rio de Janeiro in 1995 (not sure)? I was walking with Regina and Luiza. It was a cross between a pod, a shell and at the same time made out of wood. I was constantly collecting things I found in nature like big pods, flowers etc. that I will gather and brig back to New York as inspiration for my work that was always very much influence by nature, not learning about the object, or plant, or whatever, but departing from that thing to other places.

Hanging from this pods there are some tags. I wrote brief descriptions like how I found them, where I was at that moment, with whom I was etc., very descriptive as I saw the botanists did at the Herbariums at Cornell University and at the Smithsonian in Washington, Bronx Botanical…that I was visiting then.


Marbles and painted pods of some sort of an acacia tree that I found while strolling through Prospect Park. There are also scraps of fabric and watercolours on paper. From the latter, the mylar drawings would emerge a year or two later. The women are watercolours that were repeated and choreographed, as in patterns for animation. The installation is from 1998, while the watercolours date back to 1997. The dimensions vary depending on the space, and I have never exhibited it. The photo was taken in my studio in Williamsburg.

The wounded plant

Sweetest Vodoo

plasticine, red seeds, nib points , shells. There was a song that said something like that and bothered me a lot. This “bug“ is kind of spunky, unpleasent that is why I call it like that.

Cotton Mouth, snake, ceramic, golden chains. 2000.

I wanted a straight snake and that goes against its nature. Its vertebrae are designed to coil and indeed if it were already dead it would be impossible for me to straighten it; it would always have returned to its way of being. If you examine it hanging on the wall it doesn’t follow a total straight line, it has a deflection.

I’m terrified of snakes. I decided to make this piece as a way of overcoming this fear, working on and with it. When, one afternoon, UPS brought me the snake I’d ordered, I had to open the package to check it was all OK; it was, actually, just a snakeskin, its form empty, hollow and cylindrical. It might have been one of those skins/layers that these reptiles shed as they proceed through life. I slept with the package, rather uncomfortable in the awareness of what was inside. The next day I caught a plane to take the piece to an exhibition. A trip from NY to Barcelona via Rome with two tubes over my shoulder: drawings in one of them and in the other the snake. You can’t carry this kind of an animal even if they are dead. The piece was sold and I’ve never had to keep it in storage again, what a relief!

On the floor are chains of snakes that form a golden melange, parts of them covered with ceramic skin.

Agkistrodon piscivorus is a venomous snake, a species of pit viper, found in the southeastern United States. Adults are large and capable of delivering a painful and potentially fatal bite. When antagonized, they will stand their ground by coiling their bodies and displaying their fangs.[3] Although their aggression has been exaggerated, individuals may bite when feeling threatened or being handled.[4] This is the world’s only semiaquatic viper, usually found in or near water, particularly in slow-moving and shallow lakes, streams, and marshes. The snake is a strong swimmer and will even enter the sea. It has successfully colonized islands off both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

Enchanted Wall, White clay with bites painted with red watercolor. 2000

Space configured us, it is our extension, and mobile scenery. The mind transforms it.

Installation at CCS, Bard College, New York, 2000

Exhibition at the SanSebastian Aquarium. 2011

Studio view.

KKK. White clay with bites painted with red water color. 1998

Cosa Rosa [Pink Thing],1999

I found this thing just as it is in Materials for the arts, I gathered a load but didn’t use them; the idea was that there should be various pieces. I believe it’s an inside-out car seat cover, not sure if I brought it back on return from NYC. What I did find were the points that peek out from on top: they’re darts for killing bears with and my friend Susan gave me them as a present, as she thought they might bear some relation with what she’d been seeing in my studio at Willamsburg. There were also some ceramic pieces sewn to the body; don’t know what I did with them either. The Pink Thing is both weapon and armour.

Mutants, ceramic painted with watercolours, wire and red threads. 1999.

 Cross between a marine and a botanical organism.

The work consists of conceiving of the artist’s production, her capacity to mutate, to train, to design herself as being able to do something, as work. Education as a transforming experience. Woman’s mutation in society today will also be a constant in Science is fiction, an animal obsession, through the metaphor of the seahorse.

View Science is Fiction - Aquarium Exibition

Destruction Re-construction, 2000.


I sit on the floor and start to cut up a red silk kimono. My face can’t be seen, there is no sound, just cutting and cutting. It’s monotonous, nothing’s going on but I’m always doing something.

The remains of this kimono, along with the scissors and polaroids in the process, form an installation where the leading role is occupied by its fabric silhouette.

It’s the notion that something can emerge from catastrophe. Destruction forces you to put yourself together.

This project is made up of various works:


A still camera is filming me while I very slowly cut the kimono into small pieces. Sound of the scissors cutting.


Silhouette of the gutted kimono hanging on the wall. Under it, on the floor, we see the remains of it in a pile. There also used to be a series of polaroids tossed down with the scraps of fabric.

This piece was set up in the Ps122 in NYC , in Galería Barnola and in the Galería Vanguardia Bilbao. Years later it was shown in the Church of San Vicente in Vitoria (exhibition organized by Artium) and in Prague.

Are you talking to the fairies?. Objects placed in the fields. 2002

Small actions on the landscape, really minimal stuff, they almost try to belong to it. But there is a twist (that I don’t explain) about it not completely belonging to the scenery.

While I was taking the photographs a Comunidad Bruderhoff* group who live there passed by. When they saw me working in the fields they asked me: are you talking to the fairies? The question was spot on, as what I was doing made no sense, the only explanation would be that I was trying to talk to someone on a level other than the human one.

Selfportrait, 4 polaroids, 1998

Katxarrada, video, 2015

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