Los agricultores. Recolectar y/o manipular

Text by Sema D’Acosta
December 2014 at  Sant Andreu Contemporani, Barcelona
Text for the Catalogue of the exhibition

La fotografía para Mariscal supone un elemento más con el que establecer relaciones espaciales complejas, un ingrediente sofisticado con el que crea con sus manos y de manera directa cuidadas aleaciones de objetos singulaes que combinan la fragilidad del cristal con la incertidumbre de ininiteligibles imágenes seccionadas. Los mecanismos plásticos que se ponen en funcionamiento
con sus composiciones en algunos casos más cercanas a la escultura que a la representación bidimensional, mentienen en vilo un principio de inquietud que se construye por sutiles capas superpuestas.


‘Nor breaking down’
collage, blown glass
21 x 29,7 x 1,5 cm


‘Neither running away with itself’
collage, blown glass
29,7 x 21 x 0,5 cm




Text by Cristina Ramos
November 2014 at Passatge Studio, Barcelona
Text for the Catalogue of the exhibition


Según Kandinsky el concepto de elemento se puede entender de dos maneras: como concepto interno
o como externo (pág. 28).

Exteriormente, cada forma de una obra constituye un elemento.

Interiormente, no es la forma sino la tensión que en ella existe lo que caracteriza o constituye el elemento.

Y de hecho, no son las formas exteriores las que materializan el contenido de una obra, sino las fuerzas vivas inherentes a la forma, o sea las tensiones.

El contenido de las obras de Julia Mariscal encuentra una de sus expresiones en la composición, es decir, en la suma interior organizada de las tensiones necesarias para concebir cada pieza. Ésta simple afirmación tiene la mayor trascendencia: su reconocimiento señala a aquellos artistas que aparte de lo material reconocen lo inmaterial o espiritual (pág. 28).

En las obras presentes, los elementos son abstractos en un sentido real y es abstracta la forma misma;
el elemento es la tensión que vive en esa forma. El punto resulta de la intersección de varios planos:
es el término de un ángulo espacial y al mismo tiempo el centro originario de esos planos. Los planos
se dirigen a él y se desarrollan a partir de él.

En la disposición de los materiales es usado el principio de la contradicción, es decir, es utilizada en contraposición exterior con los elementos, mientras que los apoya internamente. El movimiento que
la artista ejerce arroja fuerzas que desplazan el punto en rectas con diferentes tensiones, provocando
un equilibrio matérico en las piezas.

La línea se asienta livianamente sobre el vidrio, sobre el líquido y sobre el lineóleo.

Las sensaciones de suspensión dependerán de la posición interior del observador; el camino de lo externo a lo interno, la línea se emancipa de la superficie material y flota en el espacio.

[1] Kandinsky, Vassily, 1926. Punto y línea sobre el plano. Contribución al análisis de los elementos pictóricos. Paidós Estética: 2012, Barcelona, España.



Time Capsules: The Poetics and Politics of Memory in Art

Text by Lorena Muñoz-Alonso
November 2010 at Soho Gallery, London
Text for the Catalogue of the exhibition


time-capsules lorena muñoz-alonso


“One of the schools of Tlön goes so far as to negate time: it reasons that the present is indefinite, that the future has no reality and that the past only exists as a present souvenir.”

Jorge Luis Borges ‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’ 1


“Time Capsules is a meditation on the work of art as representation of time and the pervasive personal memories that haunt the artist when he/she faces a new project. It seems to me that, for a good number of years now, the category of space has been the main focus for many artists, curators and critics. Transnationalism, globalization, liminality, the architectural sublime and the production of space have all been hallmarks in recent artistic practice and theoretical discussion. But space feels, somehow, like a fixed, closed category. You are either here or there, maybe moving between these two points.


For this show Julia Mariscal has created ‘The Mirror Says’ (2010), a complex installation comprising several parts (sculptures, kaleidoscopes and drawings), in which she plays with the archetype of the time capsule itself. This is a work that draws heavily in psychoanalysis figures, such as the ‘I’, the ‘Other’ and the world of ‘Dreams’ and how they converse with the Rorschach test as an almost theatrical backdrop. While the artist’s (I) main concern is to prevail in time, driven by the needs of her ego, the ‘Other’ (the viewer) is a presence and a force within the production and reception of the work that has to be acknowledged and incorporated into the process. If the work of art is a time capsule made by the artist in order to triumph over time, it will be down to the viewer to open it and make sense out of it, in a future time frame that Mariscal places within a dream, which she identifies with the ‘mirror’. Instead of loading the work with concrete time, she engages in a self-reflective game: what are her intrinsic aspirations as an artist while making the work, and her own projection of the situation in which it will be opened. Mariscal’s practice, always profoundly engaged in the process and physicality of the materials she painstakingly selects, attempts here yet another ‘fold’, one of her signature strategies.


1 Jorge Luis Borges: ‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’




Text by Lorena Muñoz-Alonso
Julia Mariscal, “Horizontal Pleat”, December 2009 at Oblong Gallery, London
Text for the Catalogue of the exhibition


The video starts. A grey mass materialises before my eyes. I can’t really recognise the shapes. I squint my eyes and long for a sound to guide me, to give me a clue. Maybe if I could hear seagulls, I would imagine myself standing on a cliff, watching the rough sea getting closer and closer, almost feeling the waves calling me, inviting me to jump, like mean sirens. But there is no sound. My mind wanders. The stream of images is quite hypnotising Maybe this is a macro shot of an insect, those images where you realize how hairy flies’ legs are. Spiky hairs like rose thorns. Under a microscope all the bugs become the perfect David Cronenberg creature.

This untitled video arrives to my life through an email one early morning; the sender, the artist, an equally unknown entity as the piece itself. I am supposed to write about something and someone I don’t know at all. They found me, and it becomes an experience as intriguing as poetic, so I accept.

A few weeks later, I have managed to meet the artist, at the private view of an installation set in the toilets of a pub in East London, of all places. She doesn’t want to give away any information, which I seek and push for cunningly. That first encounter doesn’t provide with much more, but a few days later I have discovered what the video shows. Now I know. The video is Julia’s mountain and it embodies the answer of a very important question for her and Carlos Pastor. “Now tell me Julia, which one is your mountain?”. We will hear this conversation, which was recorded in a car, in the exhibition at Oblong Gallery, as part of the installation “Horizontal Pleat”. The video will be another part of it.

Julia’s mountain is not a physical, real mountain, but a composition of 4 different pictures recorded with a Super 8 camera. The pictures are inverted shots of a Tuareg’s turban, those folded tissues being the “horizontal pleats” of the exhibition’s title. A Tuareg is a nomadic man of the North African desert, and I wonder if this choice of Julia ­–another Spanish émigré like me– is entirely casual or, on the other hand, highly charged with meaning. But I am not supposed to ask. So it’s just the video, Julia’s mountain, the turban and me. All alone in a room.

Knowing the original source of this images, oddly enough, doesn’t set my mind at ease, but triggers my thoughts to run even more wildly. Julia’s work avidly encourages a sense of displacement, of dislocation, maybe even of deceit. She is playing a game of appearances and symbols with us, her public. Subjectivity is Mariscal’s main preoccupation when constructing and then showing a piece. She is not interested in imposing us a story, a narrative, a justification for her work. She offers a kind of raw material to the viewer to chew on, and she does that through processes of fragmentation and encoding of information. She folds and pleats, most accurately in this particular work.

In his essay “The Fold. Leibniz and the Baroque”, Gilles Deleuze elaborates in the potentiality of the fold as a producer of subjectivity. Deleuze understands the world as a body of infinite folds and surfaces, which twist and weave through compressed time and space. In an interpretation of Leibniz’s philosophy that has become crucial for our understanding of the contemporary, the French thinker describe history and the event as multifaceted combinations of signs in motion, and the modern subject as nomadic, always in the process of becoming.

It seems to me that the folding of Mariscal’s Tuareg might, consciously or not, be addressing some of these deleuzian questions, sharing a concern with the powers of the subjective and its use to better interpret and play with the information overload, making it ours, adding yet another layer that conveys our own point of view. But, then again, these are all lucubrations. In the end I just don’t know, I tell myself, as I watch the video yet another time.