Matadero Madrid center for contemporary creation
A photograph, La danza de la serpiente [The Snake Dance], sparked my curiosity. Then I went looking in archives and newspaper files. I teased out the verses dedicated to her. I listened to the music she danced to. I visited her costumes, her residence, her letters. Tórtola did not have one life but rather many different, contradictory lives, some of them hidden. She never wrote her memoirs; she refused to disseminate her aesthetic and legacy in schools or amongst disciples, and she constructed a solid wall through a character that eclipsed intellectuals, powerful men, artists and the public on several continents.
But a personality this turbulent, so full of chiaroscuro, scandals and silences... how could I articulate her? The key was to follow her lead: with fiction. A fiction that could not have just one colour or tone and that had to be true to the spirit of the protagonist: a valiant and free being. And thus, through fiction, I trace a path through the different facets and shifting phases of this artist, in a tribute to those women, scandalous and different, who managed to live the life they wanted outside the conventions of their time.
Tórtola is not a historical or biographical work. Rather, I like to think that it is a continuation of what she did so many times: invent a passionate lie. The writing is crafted in the construction of the lie.