Elena Lavellés

Desde el 22 de noviembre 2018
al 06 de enero 2019
Precio: Free admission


Espacio: Centro de residencias artísticas

(F)Actors en Route, final presentation of Elena Lavellés research project, is based on the artist’s journey to Mexico, Brazil, and the United States in 2017, and the field research she carried out there thanks to the Programme: Call for local creators of Centro de residencias artísticas de Matadero Madrid and collaboration of different agents, social resistance groups and institutions in the respective countries. Blanca de la Torre has curated Lavellés’ work on other occasions, and, as she points out, “the result is expressed in photographs, drawings, video and documentation that make up something akin to an atlas-archive of political ecology in several interrelated episodes, from which discourses are extracted on decolonization, social resistance, indigenous sovereignty and the (de)financialization of nature, bringing to the table how important it is to understand the inextricable relationship between the environment, economy, society, and politics.”. She continues: “this makes it perfectly clear how every landscape is political, and it helps us to understand the intrinsic relationship between political ecology and the aesthetic experience, and the different ways that they both offer us to understand the interrelationships that exist between the environment and the economic, social and political world.” 
The project focuses on an analysis of the routes or displacements that either materials and human beings are forced to endure so that industry and capital may profit. In Spain, around 70% of all the primary energy that we consume (which for the most part is of fossil origin) is imported from other countries due to the lack of energy resources within Spain itself. “The artist invites us to re-imagine the two sides of the story, that of the imagined territory and that of the real one. That of utopia and dystopia, an approach that implies social resistance and alternatives to currently established and dominant processes”, explains Blanca de la Torre. In this exploration, Lavellés centres on three types of "black gold" and their respective geographical areas: the precious metal of the Brazilian city of Ouro Preto, the oil of the Mexican corporations «Oro Negro» and PEMEX, and the coal from the Powder River Basin mines in the State of Wyoming, USA. Three materials whose exploitation has been essential for the development and expansion of capitalism. Each of the three main lines of research takes us to specific problems that the extraction and exploitation of these resources have brought in their wake.
The first line of research focuses on Ouro Preto, in Brazil’s Minas Gerais region, where the material known as black gold is  from. The artist sheds light on the migratory flows that were generated by the Brazilian Gold Rush of the 18th century, and particularly on the massive number of African slaves who were brought in to take part in the mining operations. The artist also turns her gaze on what are “paradoxically still referred to as “natural disasters”, such as the Samarco Mine disaster in November 2015, given that there is nothing at all “natural” in the mudslide that ensued when the dam burst that held all the chemicals and pollutants from the iron washing process”.
The extraction of oil from the Gulf of Mexico is the second focus for Lavellés’ research. Here she shows us how this process has resulted in the displacement of communities, the degradation of nature and the landscape, and the destruction of ways of life and resources. For this section, the artist contacted activists such as GeoComunes, whose work involves accompanying peoples and communities in defense of the common good, starting by producing maps that analyze the conflicts as a way to strengthen collective organization. Finally, the exhibition takes us to the Powder River Basin Mines, the largest coal producer in the US. Here,  the artist points out how the decision of the US government to revitalize the coal industry has consequences that threaten global environmental security, particularly following the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Summit Agreement (COP21).
Special thanks:
Spain: Xus de la Cruz, Blanca de la Torre, Javier Esquillor (Vivero de Iniciativas Ciudadanas), Maria Lourdes Fernández Díaz (Professor in the Geological Sciences Faculty of the Complutense University of Madrid), Gastón Horischnik, Mónica Iglesias, Dorian de Kermadec (Principal Consultant, Pöyry), Alessio Meloni, Jana Pacheco, Jesús Reyes de Andrés (Geological and Mining Institute of Spain) and Artur Silva.
United States, Brazil and Mexico: In particular, to Jeff Wandler, Vice President of L&H Industrial, and his entire team (Gillette, WY, USA.), Robert A. Henning (Rock Pile Museum. Gillette, WY, USA), Bob Stowe, Phil Christopherson (Capital Energy. Gillette, WY, USA.), Frank Lang, Fico Lazzaro-Colon, Juliana Luján, Anneta Orraca-Tetteh (Communications Officer, International Monetary Fund. Washington DC, USA.), Marcelo Dev, Adriana Bravin, Jornal A Sirene (Minas Gerais, Brazil), Prof. André Luis Carvalho (Federal University of Ouro Preto. Minas Gerais, Brazil), Beto and Toni (Chico Rei Mine. Ouro Preto, Brazil), Paulo Baptista (Gandarela Movement and Prof. At the Federal University of Minas Gerais. Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil), Capitan Antonio García Gall (Maritime Port of Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche, Mexico), Carlos Palácios (Carrillo Gil Museum, Mexico City), the GeoComunes Collective, particularly Adrian Flores and Yannick Deniau (Mexico City), Anel Alejandra Jiménez Cruz (Cultural and Educational Services Coordinator, Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche, Mexico), Laura Cervera Fuentes and Estrella Fuentes Durán.
Elena Lavellés (Madrid, 1981)
She lives and works between Madrid, New York and Mexico City.
She has been part of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program (New York, USA), and she has an MFA in Photography & Media and Integrated Media at the California Institute of Arts (CalArts - Los Angeles, USA) and a Master’s Degree in Contemporary Art at the European University of Madrid. She is a Fine Arts Graduate from the CES Felipe II (Complutense University of Madrid), and she also has university studies in Philosophy and Geological Sciences (Complutense University of Madrid).
Lavellés has screenedand exhibited in such cities as Los Angeles, New York, Singapore, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Madrid, among others.
She has received several awards, scholarships and residencies such as Generación 2018 (La Casa Encendida, Madrid), the 2017 BBVA Multiverso Scholarship for Video Art Creation (BBVA Foundation, Bilbao), the 2017 Blueproject Foundation Residency (Barcelona), the First Matadero Madrid Programme of Residency Call (2017), the 2017 Community of Madrid Aid for the Creation of Visual Arts, the 2017 NYSCA Electronic Media & Film Finishing Fund Grant (New York, USA), the PICE Spanish Cultural Action Scholarship, a Community of Madrid Scholarship to allow young artists to live abroad, the 2015 Scholarship of Excellence of the Government of Mexico (CDMEX, Mexico), the Efroymson Family Foundation Project Grant (Indianapolis, USA.), the Bartman Grant (Los Angeles, USA.), the 25th Edition of Plastic Art Circuits of the Community of Madrid, Intransit 2014 and Casa de Velázquez Residency for artists, among others.
Thursday, November 22, 7 pm: Inauguration of exhibition and performance within the programme of Tentacular. Festival de Tecnologías Críticas y Aventuras Digitales.
© Matadero Madrid

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