Manuel Prados
From 01 Apr to 28 May 2017




"There are mercury mirrors, silver mirrors, steel mirrors and obsidian mirrors. Of all these, the most mysterious are those of blackish obsidian." La isla sin aurora, Azorín, 1944

In obsidian, Old and New World poetics and mythologies converge and collide in a peculiar way. This volcanic rock was used by Stone Age cultures of different periods, particularly in Mesoamerica. Its razor-sharp edges and workability made it suitable for crafting tools and weapons, but its attractive sheen, reflective surface and characteristic black colour (with a wide range of hues) also made it a popular material with artisans, who turned it into ornaments, works of art and singular objects for votive or ritual use. 

One of those singular objects is the obsidian mirror, an artefact that made its way into early European cabinets of curiosities and Wunderkammern in the 16th and 17th centuries and soon became a coveted fetish, as it was believed to have magical and spiritual properties. Looking glass, instrument of the dark arts and divination, or a means of communicating with "the other side"—speculations about its use are varied and often contradictory.

The artist invites us to join him on a quest for that mirror, retracing obsidian’s journey from the volcano to the museum by way of mines and archaeological sites, and investigating the material conditions of its fabrication at workshops where master craftsmen still work this stone. The setting of this adventure is the area around the Tequila Volcano in western Mexico, cradle of the Teuchitlán tradition.

At the same time, he also explores the presence of the mirror in art history, from the Spanish conquest of Mexico to the present day, observing how its legend has inspired prominent artists and permeated popular culture in our time.

The exhibition catalogue features an essay by Mar Villaespesa titled 'The Mirror Unearthed: From the Volcano to the Museum' and José Julio Zerpa Rodríguez titled 'One Rock, One Hundred Journeys'.

Openning: march 31, 8 pm

Educational workshop: april 23 and may 14, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm

Guided tour: april 26, 7 pm

Presentation of the catalog: april 26, 7 pm

Manuel Prados

Seville, 1981

In his work, Manuel Prados explores themes like archaeology, history, visual culture and music through audiovisual pieces, research projects, interventions, tableaux and performances in collaboration with other artists. He has participated in workshops with various artists and curators, including Antoni Muntadas, Ibon Aranberri, Valentín Roma and Cesar Pietroiusti. Between 2005 and 2012 he worked as an arts producer at BNV Producciones, where he was involved in various projects about contemporary culture. His work has been featured in exhibitions such as Tratado de Paz, curated by Pedro G. Romero, and Sobre capital y territorio 2007–2012, curated by Mar Villaespesa.



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