Carmen Laffón (Seville, 1934) will exhibit in the Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos after an extensive retrospective that the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía dedicated to her in 1992. The National Arts Award in 1982 and intellectual fellow at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando) since 1989, Laffón is a figurative painter and sculptor. Her palette encompasses a range of sensual and luminous colours with which she is able to instantly capture the world and internalise it. Her work, produced mainly with charcoal, pastels and oil, includes portraits, still life, everyday objects and, most particularly, landscapes. Since the mid-nineties Laffón brilliantly explores the world of sculpture. Her works are in such major collections as MoMA, the Juan March Foundation and the Bank of Spain.
Laffón has spent much of her life in Sanlucar de Barrameda, a city that centres around the world of the vineyard and she is part of all the rituals surrounding its cultivation, from pruning to harvesting. Her work is heavily influenced by this wine-producing, whitish land, the variety of strains, the vintage, the wineries, with its distinctive architecture of arches, shadows and gardens; the taverns, vintagers, wine merchants and the sea. But Laffón flees empty culturalism and decrepit local customs, facing the issue with an undeniable originality.
Among the pieces at the exhibition La viña at the Abbey de Silos, coal drawings of views of the vineyard stand out, along with others of espuertas (baskets with two handles, that used to be made out of esparto grass, palm or cane but that are now made out of rubber and were used to transport cut bunches), several bronze sculptures and a high relief.
The carbon, large-scale drawings in the exhibition have been conceived as a large frieze in an apotheosis of whites, blacks and greys in which the movement of the trunk and fronds of the freshly cut stocks, contrast with a dense background of fruit, pines and eucalyptus. In line with these, though somewhat more sober, are the charcoal espuertas and along with them bronze espuertas, some full of grapes and others empty; they are installed with a particular rhythm on the floor, forming a very suggestive collection.