Lives there

Luz Ángela Lizarazo

Lizarazo makes drawings, objects and installations that allude to the feminine condition, the fragility of life, vulnerability and the need for protection. The domestic realm appears as a recurring theme in her work, as do crafts traditionally associated with women like sewing or knitting; images such as flowers and birds; jewellery techniques like lost-wax casting; and delicate materials like porcelain, glass, gauze and human hair. But her images, paradoxically, are not "feminine" in the stereotyped sense of the term, revealing themselves as deeply disturbing and uncomplacent. In her more recent works, Lizarazo creates drawings based on the intricate patterns of gratings used to protect windows and doors; these forms are blown up to architectural proportions with stencils and applied to walls, or used in windows to create interplays of light and shadow; sometimes she collects actual gratings and pieces them together into large sculptural objects.

For Irregular Hexagon, Lizarazo presents two lines of work, which at a point become intertwined. In Lattices, Aesthetics of Paranoia, 2010-2012, Lizarazo looks at the gratings done with metal rods, typically used in working-class neighborhoods in Colombia to protect windows and front lawns from unwanted entry. The series brings to the fore that even if these elements are strictly utilitarian and motivated by security, they provide the homeowners with a possibility to express beauty and individuality. The grates, which sometimes follow geometric patterns and often feature fantastic combinations of animals, plants, stars and other motifs, are used by Lizarazo to craft stencils with which create murals, or done as delicate lattices knotted with copper wire, hair, porcelain or twine, composing larger surfaces by adding them up and displaying them directly on the wall. Kingbird with braided tail, 2012, is a recent series, but the image had appeared to Lizarazo many years ago, and when she found it in one of her old notebooks it became the impetus for this new work. It is a bird whose tail becomes a long braid, rendering flight impossible by impeding any sense of direction. Lizarazo has collected old ornithological engravings and has drawn directly on them, conforming a haunting encyclopedia of an impossible species. The bird, a common metaphor for freedom, becomes thus neutralized as a sign. In Garden Tiles, 2012, Lizarazo uses plexiglass stencils to spread birdseed on the floor of a courtyard; eaten by the birds, the work will eventually disappear. Grates and birds are on opposite sides of the freedom spectrum; by combining the two series, Lizarazo delivers a poignant commentary on the need for domestic enclosure, protection and family life, and the urge to be in the world -and the contradictions these conflicting desires entail.

José Roca.
Bogotá, Colombia, 1966.