The Breakdown of Natural Equilibria

Cristina Rodrigues

April 7 2018 - May 19 2018

IPSUM is pleased to present The Breakdown of Natural Equilibria, the first exhibition of Portuguese Cristina Rodrigues (Porto, 1980) at a Spanish gallery. Cristina turns IPSUM into a space for reflection and debate on contemporary living and its natural unbalances.

A number of fundamental changes are irreversibly transforming our daily lives, our way of thinking and perceiving the world and our way of living together: improvements in living conditions, life expectancy, literacy and gender equality; changes in domestic and international political institutions; and, above all, the breakdown of natural equilibria. When demographic growth is multiplied by the growth of per capita income and consumption, one can have a measure of the global impact on environmental sustainability. Demographic and economic development is endangering our current forms of civilization and social co-living and our future ability to inhabit our planet. Alternative scenarios developed by international organizations suggest the possibility of a serious breakdown of natural equilibrium unless political, scientific and economic tools are directed to a correction towards an acceptable equilibrium between humankind and nature.

Within this context, Cristina´s main installation, Heaven, 2017, seems ambiguous. Indeed, it can be read either as a poignant warning on the need to maintain the natural homeostasis or as a calming message based on James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis proposing that living  organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a synergistic and self-regulating complex system that helps to maintain and perpetuate the conditions for life on the planet. Earth would have its own angel taking care of it. The dialectics between tradition, mythology and contemporaneity is central to Cristina´s work. Thus, the two main textile pieces, made up of Cristina´s trademarks satin ribbons, allude to Earth as Gaia, one of the Greek primordial deities, the ancestral mother of all life: the primal Mother Earth goddess. The creation process of the pieces also adds to their femininity, championing the women´s role as weavers of life.

Lastly, the artist presents two Late Night Drawings, 2015, very intimate pieces never shown before, where the artists plays with fish and water symbolism to add to the ambiguity of the exhibition. To fully appreciate the symbolic meanings of fish, we must first consider their watery domain, which holds ancient symbolic meanings dealing with the subconscious and the unknown. Water has also been known to be a womb symbol and as such, an emblem of birth, fertility and woman-ness.

Cristina Rodrigues is a Portuguese artist and architect. She graduated in architecture (2004) and completed a Masters degree in medieval and renaissance history at the University of Porto (2007), Portugal. She later moved to Manchester, United Kingdom, where she lectured at university and was awarded a PhD (2016).

Cristina’s recent solo exhibitions include The Shroud, 2017 – 2018, at Naves MATADERO, in Madrid, The Kingdom of Heaven’, 2017, at Manchester Cathedral, U.K; Cristina Rodrigues, A Retrospective, 2017, at Centro de Cultura Contemporânea in Castelo Branco, Portugal; The Shrou,d 2016, CAB – Colombo Art Biennale 2016, Sri Lanka; and La Pasión, 2016, at Fundación Valentín de Madariaga y Oya; Portuguese Pavilion; Universidad de Sevilla and Casa de la Provincia and Real Alcázar de Sevilla, Spain.