Spanish Castle Magic is a rare opportunity for those of us stateside to see—in person—the work of Marta Lafuente who lives and works in Barcelona, Spain. She uses layers of materials—sketches, swathes of oil paint, collage, and marble dust—to build up landscapes and figures that oscillate between figuration and abstraction. They depict what a memory might truly look like: not the crisp, detailed images of a photograph, but hazy, half-remembered glimpses of an event, where some sections remain obscured, leaving others to stand out in sharp relief.
Featured in the show are her mixed-media paintings and an animated film accompanied by the pastel and graphite film cells that compose it. In her Tibidabo series, amusement park-goers are captured mid-flight on a swing carousel ride, either emerging from the ether or disappearing back into it. Her cityscapes rise out of green, marble-dusted landscapes into swirling clouds, castles in the air of some summer day in Spain. Her short animated films are composed entirely of hundreds of drawings, each one minutely different than the last. On their own they are small, masterfully drawn sketches; together they overlap and out of them arises something alive: the gestures of dancers, lilting and graceful, moving swiftly across the paper.
Marta Lafuente was born in Barcelona in 1976. After living in Bologna and Madrid, she returned to her home city where she currently teaches drawing and co-teaches MBA courses at the Universitat de Belles Arts de Barcelona. Her works are in the permanent collections of the Banc de Sabadell, Vila Casas, the Güell Foundations, and others. She regularly shows her work at the Ignacio de Lassaletta Gallery in Barcelona.