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Sculptures

A S (TH) M A

2024 _ ongoing

* Raw earth sculptures / clay, plant fibres, essential oils, wax, oxides, charcoal, tobacco seeds and myrrh / various dimensions

ASTHMA, derived from ӑsthma (breathlessness), is a project featuring three mysterious figures: three hybrid sculptures, composed of pure clay and wild clay collected in Mussolente (VI, Italy).

An arboreal face, a heart, and a nose.
Three statues that breathe, quite literally.

In a skillful blend of technique and intuition, artist Isabel Rodriguez Ramos has molded these figures that invite us to remember to breathe, remaining still on the threshold between material and transcendental. They are fetishes that become “alive” through an action, namely the insertion of a burning myrrh charcoal inside them. The smoke – that invisible element “sculpted” by the artist – connects the works to a spiritual dimension. The reference to myrrh (a sacred ritual incense to the Great Mother in numerous religions) elevates these concrete and heavy bodies and imbues them with symbolism that traverses different places and cultures.

The nose alludes to respiratory problems but also to the importance of breath for grounding oneself both within and outside. The heart symbolizes the pulsating center of Mussolente, where the artist resided and worked for an entire month, establishing a connection with the residents and, particularly, with some young girls who showed a fervent and sincere curiosity towards her work. Remembering the reasons behind one’s artistic pursuit is essential, and these deeply human exchanges were fundamental in reconnecting with the profound motivations underlying one’s creative endeavors. Roots, elements of stability and connection, give life to a face that looks upwards, reaching towards the sky, much like trees, ancient bridges between the divine and the earthly.

In addition to clay and plant fibers, essential oils and wax, these statues also incorporate tobacco seeds, gifted to the artist by her uncles during her last trip to Cuba. As with Rodriguez Ramos’s other projects, the reference to Cuban culture in ASTHMA is a key aspect that complements the research closely tied to the hosting territory.

Portraits by Emmanuela Gasparella e Alessandro Baldo

A B O L I T A S

2024 _ ongoing

* Raw earth mini-sculptures with tobacco infusion / various dimensions.

“Giving Space to One’s Roots”, reconciling with personal history, getting to know oneself through the memory of ancestors: the project of the Italo-Cuban artist Isabel Rodriguez Ramos, Abolitas, began at the end of 2023 and is a journey of reconnection with origins and an intimate exercise of sharing.

The project started with a reflection on the spiritual and genetic connection one has with their maternal grandmother. Studies in genetics have indeed shown that every woman’s ovarian reserve forms while she is in her mother’s womb. In a broad sense, then, the egg from which we are born originated during our grandmother’s pregnancy. This process has implications not only genetic but also very strong psychological and energetic ones.

Reflecting on these unconscious but powerful relationships represented for the artist the beginning of a journey back in time. While starting from her maternal grandmother, Rodriguez Ramos was aware that this journey could not be limited to just grandmother Renata. Thus, many other “Abolitas” were born, which became the figurative interpretation of the maternal grandmothers of people who shared their stories through the history of their abuelas. Those on display are just a small part of a larger family of grandmothers, which in five years should reach 400, a symbolic figure that recalls the estimate of the indicative quantity of eggs women have during fertile age.

Listening and connection, dialogue and sharing, personal stories and unveiled intimacy blend with the clay molded by the hands of the artist, who delicately materializes the stories collected in these silent, wise, eternal figures. An element that adds another layer of meaning to these small sculptures is an infusion of tobacco, which Rodriguez Ramos mixes with the mother dough: a constant ritual in her artistic practice, which recalls her Cuban origins, creating an intertwining of personal and others’ roots.

Raw earth, essential oils, wax. Photos by Isabel Rodriguez Ramos.

S E L F _ P O R T R A I T S

2024

This series comprises ‘self-portraits’ made of raw earth. The soils and materials used to create these sculptures come from the artist’s homelands: Italy and Cuba. In fact, the artistic process involves collecting natural materials over the years, between Europe and Latin America, to reinterpret and heal the duality inherent in the artist’s biographical journey as a ‘mixed’ individual.

Raw earth, tobacco, fibres, sand, oils, wax. Photos by Isabel Rodriguez Ramos.

E V A

2024

The sculpture ‘Eva’ is a ‘mixed’ artwork, the result of the union of natural materials collected by the artist between Latin America and Italy. Its interactive and symbolic conception offers viewers the opportunity to actively participate through a gesture of offering and purification. The presence of a cavity strategically placed at vulva height, intended to house and burn incense quartz, invites the public to perform a ritual action. The artwork clearly recalls the biblical myth of Adam and Eve, where Eve is traditionally portrayed as the one responsible for original sin and subsequent human misfortunes. However, the traditional interpretation of Eve as the sole culprit is here subjected to a thorough critique. The artwork ‘Eve’ aims to challenge and redefine the patriarchal and misogynistic narrative that has influenced the perception of Eve as an inherently sinful figure responsible for the fall of humanity. Through a visual symbolic analysis, the artist challenges this conventional interpretation, proposing an alternative vision that celebrates the power, vitality, sensuality and creativity of the sacred feminine. The figure of Eve, in her vulnerable yet powerful nudity, becomes a symbol of rebirth and reaffirmation, breaking the stereotypes and limitations imposed by religious and cultural tradition. ‘Eva’ invites reflection on historical representations of women and a re-evaluation of their role and power in contemporary society.

Photos by Isabel Rodriguez Ramos.

26 cm high, 12 cm long and 17 cm thick. Raw earth, fibres, carnauba wax, charcoal, tobacco, sand, essential oils, quartz, incense.

G E N U F L E T T O

2023

The sculpture, in hand-modelled unbaked earth, represents a hybridised body that wraps around itself unravelling into a female and a male back, two poles that in the Human inevitably dialogue and coexist. A fundamental element of the work is prayer: the genuflection, the surrender of the body to the earth, intersects with a part of the subject twisting upwards. The tension created by these two opposing forces creates balance in the stasis of the subject represented.

Photos by Isabel Rodriguez Ramos.


Isabel Rodriguez Ramos ©2024

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