I moved to Oaxaca at the beginning of 2006, so much for a quiet, peaceful place for the mind to flow! That was a very strange year indeed. I had just arrived, when the teacher’s “plantón” started and life got disrupted. The city landscape slowly started turning into this strange public living display, with people camping and staying in the streets for endless time. Then the army invasion, like black ravens in every corner, the marches, the confrontations and quite a few other things that happened more locally. Oaxaca is pretty surrealistic and amazing, I got to see that first hand. The Chaos lasted for almost a year.
Prior to my arrival in Oaxaca I was developing a body of work based on the tridimensional representation of time as fragmented action.
Take a simple happening, a boulder floating in the ocean, a falling leaf from a tree, fragment this movement into moments, were each moment is the base for the next and we find compositions or constructions that follow a path responding to a very organic rhythm. The work, so far focused on composition was pretty minimalistic. That all changed in Oaxaca.
Even though the work continues to revolve around repetition and construction you will definitely notice the shift of “rúbrica” (parph, a flourish after a signature). It is impossible not to be influenced by the excess of visual information in Oaxaca, especially when it comes to adornments. The colours of the houses and clothing, the crafts, markets, food, etc. Layers and layers of information in visual language. I first started including colour in the work, then backgrounds, then pattern, then double pattern, etc. My minimalistic days were over. I lived in Oaxaca for around four years, definitely a turning point in my life and career.
In terms of glass Oaxaca is home to two amazing studios, XaQuixe (Salime Harp and Christian Thorton), a glass blowing eco-friendly studio (not that many in the world), and Gorilla Glass (Jason Pfohl), who
produces the finest glass piercing jewelry ever. Both influenced me with their ideas and visions and their friendship had a big impact in my life.
Also, While in Oaxaca, I got involved with La Perrera (Gabriela León), an action and performance lab. From this friendship amazing things have come out, the BOMBONERA being a good example. With performers Lula Chapman (San Francisco), Isis Rodriguez (San Francisco), Saúl López Velarde (Oaxaca) and Milu (Netherlands) we generated a sensorial action. For this we all dressed in marsh mellows, (which you can stick to your skin), then we first started slowly recognizing our bodies and presence by looking, smelling, licking, touching… in a sensorial sensual round that soon became a violent encounter of aggressive biting off the mellows, destroying the initial aesthetic soft image, turning it into a space of excess and stickiness, emphasize by the artificial nature and fake sweetness of the marsh mellows. It
was fun piece to make and performance has become a very important part of my life and practice.
Being in Oaxaca and getting involved with the art community took my practice through surprising paths. I started experimenting with other materials, working larger formats, building with volume and the fragmented body, a project I still continue to work on today. I started working directly with my body with performance, action, photo and video, this for myself, in collaborations or as support to other artists. It was a great time for research, experiment and recharge.
Also I further developed my jewelry line, using new techniques that have pretty much become a trade, combining different materials and patterns and creating more unique and intricate pieces each time.
Now after four years, and back to crazy-traffic Mexico City a new stage begins. With my new Studio set in Colonia Guerrero, I have continued exploring the virtual space created by ornamental landscape, already participating in two shows in US with this body of work, and started a new research angle working with neon and its reflection, where I am looking to forward explore the virtuality that we surround ourselves with. I also continue working with the fragmented body translated into volumetric wall skins and action pieces.
I have been invited to be part of an amazing jewelry show in Portland by the end of the year, where I will be showing four more sculptural one off collections. And have started collaborating with a known jewelry designer here in the city to further develop the more commercial line.
From more information click on Facebook: Luisa Restrepo or email: email@example.com.
INFORMATION ON PHOTOS:
1. Luisa Restrepo, San Miguel de Allende, GTO.
2. Glass gems, wire, sand, wood. 158” x 71” x 33” high, 2005. photo by: Ernesto Torres.
3. “Cultivo.” Kiln cast, copper, wood, silver leaf. 32” x 32” x 3” deep. 2007. photo by: Marcela Taboada
4 Kiln cast, wire. 24” x 24” x 5” deep. 2005. photo by: Ernesto Torres
5. “Sin sentido (oeste).” Kiln cast glass, wood, silver leaf, 20” x 16” x 2” deep. 2007. photo by Ernesto Torres
6. Luisa Restrepo, Mitla, Oaxaca.
7 Detail of plate. Fused glass, slumped and polish.
8. Luisa Restrepo, ladling hot glass form a furnace. XaQuixe Glass Studio Magdalena Apasco, Oaxaca
9. Suspension Session. (Jason Pfohl and Samar Soriano). San Agustín Etla, Oaxaca
10. Einar y Jamex de la Torre (Glass blowing Demo). Curso de vidrio soplado y mix media. Penland Shool of craft. North Carolina, US.
11. “Toorak” Kiln cast glass, wood, 26” x 16” x 3” deep. 2011
12. Ornare. Series IV. Kiln cast glass, gold leaf, wood. 33” x 17” x 3” deep, 2011.
13. Ornare Series IV det. Kiln cast glass, gold leaf, wood, 33” x 17” x 3” deep, 2011.
14. Luisa Restrepo. Necklace, multiple pieces, glass and 925 silver. Medellín, Colombia
15. Portrait series. Engraved and polished glass and 925 silver
16. Growth rings. Engraved and polished glass and 925 silver
17. Ornare rings. Engraved and polished glass and 925 silver
18. Medallion Scroll. engraved and polished glass and 925 silver. photo by Victor Mendiola.
19. Luisa Restrepo (portrait). MUAC, Mexico City. Photo by Lula Chapman