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Eva Fàbregas explores the erotic dimension of the consumer object and the mechanisms of desire
Imagine You’re a Block of Melting Butter. Photo: Eva Fàbregas, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

BARCELONA.- Starting with habitual queries in her artistic production, such as the exploration of the secret lives of everyday objects, the most recent work by Eva Fàbregas takes on the consumer object as a social agent run through by human desires, tastes and emotions.

Part of the exhibition series One Foot Out: Expeditions and Diaspora at the Fundació Joan Miró, the artist has transformed the gallery in a space for sensorial and somatic experimentation, inspired in cultures of wellness and relaxation. It is, effectively, a kind of spa, offering experiences and inciting mental states. Imagine You’re a Block of Melting Butter, a classic meditation exercise, is also the title of this exhibition, which takes on the sensuality of the consumer object by means of an immersive installation focused on new forms of subjectivity arising out of material culture.

This show emerges out of Eva Fàbregas’ interest in how, since the 1960s, industry and marketing appropriated certain techniques, such as the psychodrama, in revealing the unconscious desires of consumers. In this way, they would be able to design products meant for specific market segments.

Following on this premise, the artist has prepared a set of objects related to comfort, including massage cushions, silicon prostheses, viscoelastic foams, inflatable structures and sensorial balls, amongst others. All these mass-produced materials have the power to arouse desires and affections, as well as directly referring to the body of the visitor, who is virtually invited to inhabit the sculptures. The space layout takes its cue from places like spas and gyms where well-being is a product to be consumed on a daily basis.

A portable player with earphones allows the visitor to hear the connection between the various elements in the exhibition space, with a sound recording that is part museum audio-guide, part personal trainer and part performance script, to be acted out by the visitor. The recording suggests a series of visualization experiences that will lead the visitor to merge with one of the exhibition inflatables, become a piece of elastic chewing gum or take a walk down the middle of a car wash. Fàbregas sets out other sensorial exercises related with touch and even smell, turning the corridor of the Espai 13 into a kind of secret chamber immersed in an overpowering artificial fragrance that reminds us of the smell of a new car.

As in previous her work, the exhibition reveals Fàbregas’ interest in animation. On this occasion, the artist does not make her objects come alive using film techniques, preferring to use animation as a cosmic principle able to give life to matter, whether organic or non-organic. Entering the Espai 13, the visitor is surrounded by chairs that are contorted, as if they were made of rubber, along with expanding and contracting doors and cushions that stick to the skin, trying to fuse into it. In the words of Jordi Antas, curator of the exhibition series, it could be “a contemporary form of object animism, worshipping nothing less than the vibrant materiality of an accelerated world. In this way, elements that we would certainly consider to be synthetic, industrial or hyperproduced, here seem to have a second nature.”

Eva Fàbregas (Barcelona, 1988) has a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Barcelona. She finished her studies in 2013 with a postgraduate degree in Fine Arts at Chelsea College of Arts and Design in London, where she currently lives and works. In 2010 she received the Fundación Botín grant for artists. She has shown individually at The Green Parrot (Barcelona, 2014), Kunstraum (London, 2014), PlazaPlaza (London, 2013), Espai Cultural Caja Madrid (Barcelona, 2012) and La Capella (Barcelona, 2011). Her projects feature in recent group shows at MIMA (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, UK, 2016) and in Generación 2016, at La Casa Encendida (Madrid, 2016). She has also shown at Fabra i Coats - Centre d’Art (Barcelona, 2014), Triangle Space (London, 2013), Matadero (Madrid, 2012) and Lume Gallery (Helsinki, 2010). Fabregas’ artistic practice explores the erotic dimension of the consumer object and the mechanisms of engineered desire.

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