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Carmen Mariscal

Carmen Mariscal is one of Mexico’s leading contemporary artists. She works around the themes of memory, fragility and confinement. In her recent exhibition “The Cemetery of Love” at Frederick Moureaux’s Gallery in Brussels, she questioned the historical significance of objects and symbols in our daily lives.

In the series La Esposa Esposada, Mariscal presents a shiny wedding dress that from afar attracts our attention, giving the impression of being made out of a delicate and fine lace. Nevertheless, coming closer towards it, the brightness of more than a thousand steel handcuffs fade away our initial perception. The handcuffs become an aggressive tool of restraint where freedom is taken away. Carmen's point of departure for creating this installation is the Spanish double meaning of the word “esposa” that, on the one hand means “wife” and, on the other, “handcuff”. She photographed twenty women “wearing” a wedding dress in a shape reminiscent of the 19th century crinolines: real shackles for the body trapped in steel hoops. Her aim is to give voice to the women who suffer living behind closed doors.

In “Chez Nous” installation she explores the theme of our home as a space of meaning questioning the nature of romantic relationships. In 2020, “Chez Nous” was on view at the Place du Palais Royal in Paris, inviting passers-by to reflect on the essence of love and the symbol that lovers had chosen to represent it: namely, a padlock. Those recovered padlocks and grids from the Parisian bridge, the Pont de l’Árcheveche. The padlocks were left on bridges by couples who were symbolically locking their love. Historic bridges in Paris began to deteriorate under the weight of the padlocks and became dangerous to the passers-by, so the Mairie de Paris removed them in 2015. Mariscal documented their removal and decided to create a project using the recovered padlocks to build a sculpture in the form of a house. She questions the very logic of using padlocks to symbolize love. While they represent security, they are also symbols of confinement and stagnation.

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