The project presented aims to showcase the work of the artist Mercedes Carbonell as two thematic axis. The first of these is the idea of repetition. From her early works, Mercedes has used different guidelines and creative procedures, influenced by contemporary trends that they have imposed on the artistic practice of a serial and systematic character. Paintings of typewriter, embroider pencil drawings, portraits with makeup colours… are some of these works. Each image and each work is the almost automatic result of a routine established by the artist as the rules of a game. A strategy that has obvious biographical keys and that casts a shadow of irony about the links between art and everyday life.

The second thematic area is the pictorial genre of portraiture. The portrait appears at a crucial moment in the biography of Mercedes, as an opportunity to learn and rehearse certain resources and techniques. Her portraits have a preferential model: herself. The knowledge of the tradition of the genre and the contemporary reflection on the concept of identity are the coordinates, which allows to place the already long series of self-portraits that Mercedes has painted.

These two issues merge quite naturally in the block of works that constitute the last Mercedes Carbonell production: portraits of children. The exhibition confronts the challenge of showing a singular work, remote in appearance of the topics and concepts that determine the major part of contemporary artistic creation. These portraits are based on rules that affect both the conditions and its plastic characteristics, which link them with the repetitive work. On the other hand, the formula of recurrence applied to the representation of the face extends this reflection about the identity, which all the portraiture work of Mercedes set out. The synthesis between friendly and commercial aspects on one side, and the self-conscious and reflective elements on the other side, gives to the children portraits of Mercedes Carbonell a unique and distinguished position in the panorama of Seville painting.

Ultimately, this project is trying to reach a comprehensive approach to Mercedes Carbonell’s work, with special attention to her latest works, but offering the opportunity to review previous works. It has tested a new critical perspective. The idea of system that we use in the title offers the key to that point of view: from organizing her time and creative resources, the work of Mercedes moves towards the formulation of a kind of model, which includes the need for personal self-realization, the possibility of offering a service to the community and the way of self-management. This creative compromise, which combines vital and tactical aspects, seems today the most interesting.

  1. M. Pereñíguez, May 2009


Carbonell System

Link a Pereñiguez: