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Anatomies 1-5 (2022) and Origine NeckPieces


Photographic credits
Mattia Iotti (Anatomies) and Laetitia Striffling (Busts)
Press Release
January-March 2022
@Nilufar Gallery
Via Della Spiga 32, Milan
An Exhibition dedicated to the artist’s NeckPieces and Sculptures
Nilufar Gallery presents Origines - Maggie Cardelús, an exhibition dedicated to the recent work of the Paris based, American/Spanish artist and designer. For the exhibition, opening on January 17th, Cardelús brings together her Origine NeckPieces and five Anatomies that she has created especially for the Nilufar25 mq exhibition space.
The Origine NeckPieces are highly crafted, leather and cast bronze pendants whose enigmatic presence feel like contemporary and abstracted versions of ancient fertility figurines, sacred objects, or ritualistic artifacts. These captivating knotted pieces interact with her Anatomies, themselves large and sensuously knotted forms. Crafted from vegetable tanned leather and industrial wax, the Anatomies wall sculptures provide the NeckPieces with a home that is native to them, mediating between them and the surrounding space. When describing the Anatomies, Cardelús writes “I wanted my NeckPieces to be situated in a place of belonging, a place that supplants the human body while suggesting, at the same time, a place of origin. By the time I finished the Anatomies, I was thinking of them as many things…dissected or deconstructed bodies, vessels, flowers, frames, nests, caves, altars, jars, emanations, books, blankets…and more…”
The Anatomies are, thus, complex vessels that open up to polysemic origin stories and give form to an auratic framework for the NeckPieces within the space. The NeckPieces, with their long, tasselled straps, drape on or hide within the Anatomies, suggesting a relational narrative that invites ritualistic and decelerated behaviour into the lives of contemporary bodies. This is, possibly, the first time a piece of art jewelry has been integrated by its maker into a larger sculpture with the intention of activating a performative action on the part of who wants to wear it. In ritualistic manner, the wearer must lift the NeckPiece off the Anatomie - which has assumed the meaning of a body double or reflection of the wearer - to wear it, and then return it afterwards. Similarly, ritual and performativity is present with Cardelús portable body-like leather cases, which the wearer opens up in order to carefully remove the organ-like NeckPiece, lifting it from one body to put on another.
Nina Yashar, founder of Nilufar and eclectic curator, instantly enjoyed the dual quality of the pieces: functional objects and collectible sculptural artworks. Yashar and Cardelús also share a long-time friendship and have already collaborated on other projects in the past. Origines seemed another perfect occasion for Nilufar to expand its offering and give further visibility to artists whose work astounds the public and whom Yashar personally admires. The location of the exhibition, Nilufar 25 mq, offers a direct window to Via della Spiga, allowing all passers-by to admire the works.
Formal research and materials come together into the NeckPieces, a series rooted in Cardelús' multimedia visual art practice combining and challenging the limits between art, fashion, and design, while materialising her lifelong passion for exquisite craftsmanship. The dominant material of the NeckPieces is in fact leather: Cardelús’ artistic practice of knotting and folding photo paper found an ideal material in the pliable, warm sensuality of leather. The combination with lost wax, cast bronze adds a hard endoskeleton to the pieces, transforming the objects in bodily and sculptural forms.
The artist discovered the beauty and complexity of leather-craft during a collaboration with Sonia Rykiel; she then continued studying the material with a residency in South Africa and a masters in Paris. Over time, she developed her own language, delving into the unexplored territory of shaping leather into knotted, three-dimensional forms, a skill she has perfected in over two decades of creating cut and folded photo-based collage artworks. The development of this new direction in her practice gave rise to the Origine NeckPieces, a talismanic collection celebrating the human psyche as it connects to life’s beginnings, the Tongue NeckPieces, and to a new fish leather project now in progress, the O.2 NeckPieces.
Origines - Maggie Cardelús will be on show at Nilufar Gallery from January 25th till March 19th 2022.