Maria Ezcurra

Heaven and Hell

With my work, I often un-make, re-contextualize or I re-group garments, transforming them to create new configurations for exploring the relation between personal, social and cultural identities. Most of the time it has been with feminine implications for talking about the subtle and daily tortures to which we are exposed everyday in contemporary societies, interfering and questioning our behavior, our decisions, our ideas and our image. I intend to use my work to question the common threads of gender, class, and culture so often defined by our clothing.

For Heaven and Hell I converted female clothes into structures that contain the body’s absence, reverting then the principle of sculpture when placing the meaning in the mold, for talking about the emptiness that can lie beneath some beautiful appearances. They are two different but related textile structures, one made with blue sweaters and the other one with red shirts that I bought in a second hand store in Montreal. I made the pieces un-sewing these female clothing -as animal furs- for transforming these kinds of colorful tops into new configurations. I am exploring the idea of clothing as a second skin that doesn’t really protect us from consumerism and superficiality. I am also investigating the space of our social bodies, talking about the culture in which they were collected, along with my relation to this new city.

The names Heaven and Hell make reference to places of good and bad, where even Hell is a site of punishment and Heaven is a reward, we tend to relate Hell to previous enjoyment and Heaven usually refers to boredom. Based on this idea, Hell is made with 16 red female tops, whose rare texture –as it is full of holes- makes it look like an injured skin, or flesh. For me, these red shirts were not about making the woman who wear them feel comfortable, but for making her look “attractive”, while Heaven is made out of 9 blue big sweaters, who were clearly made for being cozy and warm. The two opposite readings that these two pieces suggest are intending to reflect and question a common condition in which people, and mostly women, are socially required to follow certain beauty standards headed by consumerism and the media under the idea of freedom and choices. This idea has taken a new direction for me in Canada, as looking at young female exposed bodies in the cold weather is quite strong for me, used to longer skirts in warmer weather.

One Response to Maria Ezcurra

  1. Salvador Edmundo Valdovinos Rodríguez says:

    Me gustan las formas que resultan. Es para mi novedoso el empleo de ropa de esta manera. Me gustan los colores y las texturas que proporcionan los tejidos.