A generation of artists emerged in 1990s Spain that were influenced by the Riot Grrrl feminist movement and by different queer activist groups from the USA and Europe. These artists would employ languages such as video, performance, comics and artistic activism to express ideas around art’s relationship with the body, identity and gender, artistic forms which, in turn, were shaped by youth and night-life culture, with underground music and film the main reference points.
The Riot Grrrl movement came about in the early 1990s alongside an alternative music scene created by women and associated with a wide-ranging DIY culture of fanzines, actions and political militancy. Sounds with post-punk overtones from bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees are discernible in Itziar Okariz’s work Red Light (saltando en el estudio de Marta) (Red Light [Jumping in Marta’s Studio], recorded in the Centro Cultural Arteleku. This space for artistic production, located in San Sebastián, was pivotal to the interdisciplinary education and research of a generation of Basque artists, which also included Ana Laura Aláez and Azucena Vieites — the latter of the two used drawings to create solo pieces and as part of her work with the Erreakzioa-Reacción group (founded with Estíbaliz Sábada and Yolanda de los Bueis in 1994), which established a space of thought and creation between art and feminism and resolved to create networks and disseminate currents of queer theory and new forms of feminism in Spain that were emerging around Europe, particularly in English-speaking countries. Donna Haraway and Eve Kosofosky Sedwick were frequently quoted, and fanzines were the central medium of exploration.
Fanzine culture also ran through the work of the LSD collective. Night-life and partying would come to the fore as spaces which were conducive to subverting non-normative affective relations, and this group were at the front of historic demands for rights in the AIDS pandemic and on the regulation of gender in medicine and state policies. From Madrid, members of the Cabello/Carceller collective also started to interrogate binary stereotypes that distinguished the feminine from the masculine and their mechanisms of representation, drawing chiefly from performance and underscoring the performativity of gender, understood as a reiterated act of socially learned formulas that must be challenged.