ARCOmadrid 2023




FEBRUARY 22-26, 2023


We are looking forward to participate for the first time at ARCOmadrid in collaboration with Ruth Benzacar Galería de Arte, Buenos Aires, with whom we co-represent Sofía Durrieu. Alongside Durrieu’s work, we will show works by Esther Mathis, while Ruth Benzacar Galería de Arte will feature works by Ana Gallardo.

The joint presentation will highlight the multifaceted practices of these three positions, across two generations. The artists share a formal restraint, while investigating fundamental questions of equality, duality, gender perception and violence or tenderness. 


… Durrieu’s newest suite of sculptures (all 2023) presented at ARCOmadrid further emphasizes the kind of ambivalent psychological tensions that the work’s material and use reveal. Here, a group of eight self-standing and wall works cast in bronze formally and metaphorically focus on the notion of tears. The artist imagines tears as bodily extensions in the shape of antennas, shields, mantles, shafts, and adornments. Turning liquid tears to solid bronze that fall through one’s face and, at times, onto the chest as handles from which to hold, Durrieu proposes tears as an element of support and comfort. As it is core to her practice, each work imposes a specific donning mechanism and bodily posture; in the process, the viewer becomes a performer while a part of the sculptural object. „Puddle“, for example, invites the spectator to step into and bend down over a puddle of tears in a surrendering act, „Sacrum“ makes one elevate and open the chest in a meditative and spiritual call, and „Headshell“ is to be worn as a blindfold that while oppressing the act of vision, it opens an interior space. Albeit their disciplining form and usage, Durrieu’s tear-works provoke polyvalent effects ranging from sorrow and joy to pain and pleasure, rigidity and softness, fear and comfort, and control and freedom—all at the same time. …

Manuela Hansen on Sofía Durrieu’s Tears series, extract


Sofía Durrieu
(*1980 Buenos Aires, Argentina, lives in Basel, Switzerland and Buenos Aires, Argentina) spent her early years in France where she trained to become a ballet dancer. She studied Fine Arts at Prilidiano Pueyrredón, Philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires, and Graphic Design at the Faculty of Design of Buenos Aires. Later she became interested in ceramics, sculpture, yoga and performance. In 2018 she moved to Basel, Switzerland to join the Master in Fine Arts program at FHNW HGK Institut Kunst, directed by Chus Martínez, graduating in 2020.
Recent solo exhibitions of the artist were Magenmund at Palazzina, Basel, Amenities at Reaktor, Zurich, Control Remoto at Pasto Galería, Buenos Aires, and Puppet-me (or example of a five-legged walking stick) at Ruth Benzacar Gallery, Buenos Aires.
Her work has been included in several group exhibitions in Switzerland, France and Argentina, among them at Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel, CEAAC Strasbourg, Federico Klemm Foundation, Buenos Aires. In February 2022 her work was part of the Performance Biennial in Parque Memorial in Buenos Aires. Sofía Durrieu’s work is featured in several important private collections in the Americas. Recently she has been awarded an Atelier Mondial residency in Tokas, Tokyo, and has been awarded the Werkbeitrag Kunstkredit Basel Stadt 2021, as well as the 2022 Swiss Art Awards. Solo exhibitions at Ruth Benzacar, Buenos Aires, and at Livie will take place in Spring and Fall 2023. 

ARCOmadrid, Sofia Durrieu, Esther Mathis


For ARCOmadrid, Esther Mathis presents works from her most recent work complex titled Nightshades. Here, the artist repurposes found industrial honeycomb material and standardized colors from the RAL palette to create works that operate equally as optical devices and as color fields. Nightshades investigate light refraction, direction, as well as the phenomenology of being human.

Which colors does the night have? Is this more of a physical-morphological question or a poetic one? Visual acuity is greatest in photopic vision, less so in scotopic vision; details with low contrast can no longer be perceived because the eye interpolates brightness. This optical-physical process is at the same time a poetic one; the colors of the RAL palette that Mathis diffuses on her honeycombs bear names such as “night redness”, “moon ash green”, “full moon gray”, “midnight blue”, “nightshade violet” or “pearl night blue”. The mesopic range consists of intermediate tones, transitions and interpolation. We create the colors ourselves as we simulate visual acuity. This is an actual artistic act that Mathis introduces us to. At the same time, she subverts physical phenomena, questions them, and creates a new, alternative history of light as part of the opaque, the shadow, and the tonality of night.

Damian Christinger on Esther Mathis’ Nightshades, extract exhibition text


Esther Mathis
(*1985 Winterthur, Switzerland) lives and works in Zurich. She studied photography at the IED in Milan, where she was awarded a scholarship to the SVA in New York, completing her Master’s in Fine Arts at ZHdK in Zurich in 2015. Mathis received a grant of the city of Winterthur in 2014, and in 2019/20 she was awarded a grant for “Visual Arts” by UBS Kulturstiftung as well as the work grant of the canton of Zurich. Since 2020 the artist has been commissioned with several art in architecture projects which will be realized in the coming years. Esther Mathis has been featured in solo and two person shows in Switzerland and abroad, including “DOings & kNOTs” at Kunsthalle Tallinn, Estonia, in 2015, “Phaenomena Materiae“ together with Brigham Baker at Kunstverein Friedrichshafen, Germany, in 2017, “Wo deine Füsse stehen” at Kunsthalle Arbon, Switzerland, in 2018, and “Luminaire” in the summer of 2021 at BINZ39 Foundation Zurich. Her work was part of numerous group shows including the Shenzhen Photo Biennale, China, in 2016, the sculpture biennial Weiertal “Paradise, lost” in Winterthur, Switzerland, curated by Christoph Doswald in 2019, “The Big Rip, Bounce, Chill or Crunch?” at Last Tango in 2019, the “Werkschau” at Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich, Switzerland in 2016, 2017 and 2019, “Focus” and various other group exhibitions at Kunst Museum Winterthur from 2011-2020, “Weit” at Kunst(Zeug)Haus Rapperswil, Switzerland in 2020, and “Werk- und Atelierstipendien der Stadt Zürich” at Helmhaus, Zurich, Switzerland in 2021, among others.

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Installation views: Jorge Luis De La Parra

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