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Earthworks

O R I G E N

2023

Monograph / Spanish version

Conceived amidst Enclave Land Art artist residency, Origen emerges through the application of the time-honored dry stone wall technique. Its exterior is covered with a blend of clay, sand, and indigenous natural materials. The womb, seamlessly assimilated into its ambient surroundings, assumes the role of a receptacle endowed with the capacity to cradle a body within its confines.

ORIGEN is the genesis of time and cyclical motion, a symbol and manifestation of generative fertility and the sacred, the plastic power, the power to give life, the mystery of nature, the embrace of the mother, healing and regeneration, the custodian of what dies, and the destination of what lives. The sculpture, constructed solely from the materials offered by the intervention site and, therefore, entirely biodegradable, appeared as a fissure in the red earth, reminiscent, in its organic forms, of a uterus. The structure’s foundation was built using the traditional dry stone wall technique. The uterus, made of overlapping rocks stabilized with soil and gravel, was covered and shaped with multiple layers of fibers and sifted raw earth. A concave environment was crafted within the mother sculpture, spacious enough to cradle a curled-up body within. The inherently ephemeral and interactive installation aim to provide the community with an opportunity to engage in a more intimate and somatic dimension of time. Throughout the creation process, a site-specific participatory performance was developed in dialogue with the mother sculpture. ORIGEN is the embodiment of a ritual and cyclical time, as well as the desire to rediscover the shared ancestral heritage and tune into circadian rhythmicity—a primordial condition in which humanity and nature, body and space, once again became inextricably One.

ORIGEN – installation view; 1,7x3m; 2023. Enclave Land Art, Quesa, Valencia, Spain. Photos by Isabel Rodriguez Ramos.

I K I P E R U

2023

IKIPERU, known as Cupra, also referred to as Cubrar in Umbrian, Ikiperu in Picenian, and alternatively Kypra or Supra, stands as a revered divinity in the ancient belief systems of the Umbrians and Picenes, holding a distinguished position as one of the Italic Great Mothers. This Chthonic goddess, presiding over waters and fertility, bears a multifaceted identity, aligning with the Uni of the Etruscans and resonating with the essence of Astarte. In the Roman tradition, she is recognized as their own Bona Dea, further attesting to the syncretic nature of ancient deities across cultures. The sanctity of IKIPERU is deeply intertwined with the rituals and beliefs of the ancient peoples, revealing a profound reverence for the cyclical nature of life, the fecundity of the earth, and the sustaining power of waters. As a Chthonic goddess, she embodies the mysteries of the underworld and the generative forces that influence life’s cycles.

IKIPERU – installation view. 2.5×2.9 m; 2023. Gea Collective; La Distesa. Cupramontana, Marche, Italy. Photo by Isabel Rodriguez Ramos.

The embodiment of the goddess takes shape through a meticulous process, where linen serves as the medium for her intricate form. This unique artistic creation not only involves the art of weaving but also incorporates a dye mixture derived from the fascinating alchemy of mycelium and the fermentation of organic materials – indigenous yeasts and dried berries affected by peronospora. Commissioned specifically for and crafted within the La Distesa rural community, the sculpture is designed to be an integral part of a profound life cycle, mirroring the cyclical nature of existence. Its ultimate destiny is to undergo a gradual process of deterioration within the very vineyard that served as its birthplace. This intentional connection between the artwork and the vineyard symbolizes a dynamic interaction between art and nature, where the passage of time and environmental elements become essential collaborators in the evolution of the sculpture. The choice of materials and the deliberate exposure of the goddess to the elements align with a conceptual framework that embraces impermanence and decay as inherent aspects of the artistic journey. As the linen and organic dyes gradually succumb to the influences of weather, seasons, and the vineyard ecosystem, the goddess undergoes a metamorphosis, echoing the perpetual transformations witnessed in the natural world. The goddess becomes a living testament to the symbiotic relationship between art, nature, and the passage of time, inviting contemplation on the transient nature of both artistic expression and the organic world that serves as its canvas.

La Distesa is a rural community located in the Marche hinterland and extends over two farms in the municipality of Cupramontana, in the province of Ancona. The main activity is the cultivation of vines for the production of high quality natural wines, but the farm also consists of olive trees, arable land, fodder and woodland. Organic farming, certified by CCPB, is practised throughout the farm.http://www.ladistesa.it/

IKIPERU – details. 2023. Gea Collective; La Distesa. Cupramontana, Marche, Italy. Photos by Isabel Rodriguez Ramos.

Y E M A Y A

2023

YEMAYA, syncretized with the Catholic Virgin Mary as Nuestra Señora de la Regla, emerges as the mother of life and the revered matriarch of all Orishas. This divine entity holds sway over the vast expanse of saltwater, making her the embodiment of the sea as the ultimate wellspring of life. Beyond her elemental dominion, YEMAYA assumes the crucial roles of protector for women in labor, as well as a guardian for fishermen and sailors navigating the unpredictable waters.

The inaugural piece within the ‘Yemaya’ series is a testament to the artist’s intricate craftsmanship, employing hand modeling techniques on a concoction of sand and starch. This ephemeral sculpture, measuring approximately 2 cubic meters, takes the form of a mask and serves as a profound exploration into ritual artifacts. The transitory nature of the artwork, fashioned entirely from sand, adds an ethereal quality to its existence.

2023. Dune. Arti, paesaggi, utopie. Maremma Natural Park, Tuscany, Italy. 1.9×2.3 m. Medium: land art, sculpture, installation. By Isabel Rodriguez Ramos, Photo by Francesco Rossi.

Continuing this artistic odyssey, the second installment in the ‘Yemaya’ series is a meticulously crafted vulva. Once again, the artist employs the hand-modeling technique, integrating sand with starch and natural pigments. This ephemeral and interactive piece offers a unique dimension, with its form designed to accommodate a body in a fetal position, inviting viewers to engage physically with the artwork.

2023. Dune. Arti, paesaggi, utopie. Maremma Natural Park, Tuscany, Italy. 2.3×3 m. Medium: land art, sculpture, installation. By Isabel Rodriguez Ramos, Photo by Francesco Rossi.

Concluding the series is a vulva-mirror, a creation born from the interweaving of natural fibers sourced on-site, including palm and helichrysum. This particular piece, strategically placed near the sea, transforms the viewing experience into an interactive encounter with the water element, enhancing its reflective and symbolic qualities.

In essence, the ‘Yemaya’ series transcends conventional artistic boundaries, delving into the realms of spirituality, ritual, and the ephemeral nature of existence. Through these thought-provoking sculptures, the artist invites viewers to not only witness the convergence of cultural and spiritual symbolism but also to engage actively in the dialogue between art and the natural elements that surround it.

2023. Dune. Arti, paesaggi, utopie. Maremma Natural Park, Tuscany, Italy. 50×100 cm Medium: land art, textile, installation. By Isabel Rodriguez Ramos, Photo by Francesco Rossi.

N I D I F I C A R E

2023

Exploring the intimate concept of the nest through a symbolic lens, this series emphasises the similarities between animal sanctuaries and our domestic spaces. Inspired by the ingenuity of the most skilful of animal builders, particularly birds, the artist makes nests by hand using plant fibres sourced from the place of research. At the centre of each nest is a stone egg. The work suggests a reflection on how animals, just like humans, build complex infrastructures to protect their families and communities. The animals’ idea of a ‘city’ is a harmonious integration with the environment and differs from the human perspective, which often involves the destruction of nature to make space.

Photos by Isabel Rodriguez Ramos.

B I O P S I A

C E R E B R O B I O – L Ó G I C O

2023

Recognizing the perpetual interplay and reciprocal influence, the project explores the dynamic relationship that allows humanity to evolve and undergo transformative processes within the context of the broader Whole. Functioning as a nomadic initiative, this project seeks to enrich the local landscape and catalyze a metamorphosis of the environment. At its core are monumental free-standing sculptures, each measuring approximately 2x3m x1m h. These sculptures, conceived and executed outdoors, embody a meticulous fusion of various materials. The sculptural compositions take the form of brains, strategically positioned within the landscape to seamlessly integrate with their surroundings. Far from being standalone entities, these works become integral components of their environment, establishing a profound dialogue with the ambient light, the vibrant colors, and the individuals who inhabit the space. The deliberate placement of these sculptures ensures a dynamic interplay between the artistic creations and the ever-changing natural elements, creating an evolving narrative that resonates with both the tangible and intangible aspects of the environment. In essence, this itinerant project transcends traditional artistic boundaries by not only presenting visually striking sculptures but by embedding them in a broader discourse that explores the intricate relationships between humanity and its surroundings. Through this synthesis of art and environment, the project aspires to evoke contemplation, spark dialogue, and foster a deeper connection between individuals and the multifaceted landscapes they inhabit.

2023. Catalunya, Spain. 2x3m. Medium: land art, sculpture. By Isabel Rodriguez Ramos, Daniel Alberto Escobar. Photos by Tobias Cedola

R A Í C E S

2022

‘Raíces’ unfolds as a profound collective artistic exploration into the intricate tapestry of roots, conceived as a therapeutic response to the perpetual yearning that accompanies the artist’s upbringing far from a homeland that she doesn’t inhabit physically but resides within her essence. This artistic endeavor seeks to address the intrinsic restlessness that arises from being distanced from a land that holds ancestral significance, endeavoring to bridge the emotional and geographical gaps through an immersive journey into the artist’s heritage.

At the heart of ‘Raíces’ lies a poignant narrative of self-healing and fundamental awareness, encapsulating the artist’s relentless pursuit of a sense of belonging. Drawing inspiration from her paternal family’s enduring connection to the tobacco fields of Pinar del Rio, Cuba, spanning many generations, the installation manifests within the walls of an uncle’s tobacco house, infusing the artwork with a tangible connection to the artist’s familial lineage. Remarkably, ‘Raíces’ unfolds as a collective artwork, actively engaging each member of Isabel’s family in its creation. The collective contribution of the family serves not only as a testament to shared heritage but also as a shared space and time for contemplation on the profound concept of roots. The metaphorical exploration of roots finds embodiment in the tobacco plant, a symbol intricately woven into the fabric of the artist’s family history for over 150 years. The meticulous crafting of the word ‘Raíces’ materializes through the veins of tobacco leaves, cultivated and nurtured by uncles and cousins. These veins are intricately applied to a “tela de tapado,” a wide-meshed cloth traditionally used by farmers to shield plants from the sun’s rays. The thread employed to weave the veins into the fabric holds a deeper significance, as it is the same thread traditionally used to stitch tobacco leaves together before the drying process. In essence, ‘Raíces’ emerges not only as a visual investigation but as a multi-dimensional exploration of heritage, family bonds, and the intricate ties that bind individuals to their roots. This collective artistic act transcends traditional boundaries, inviting viewers to engage with a narrative that encapsulates the essence of the artist’s familial legacy and serves as a testament to the resilience of roots that endure across generations.

Medium: Land Art, Installation. Sept / 2022. Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Materials: “tela de tapado”, tobacco, thread. Photo by Isabel Rodriguez Ramos.


Isabel Rodriguez Ramos ©2024

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