Title: Sisyphus
Dimensions: width: 100cm, height: 100cm
Notes: acrylic
Country: United Kingdom


Celia was born in Madrid, and as a young person growing up in the 70s/80s she became fascinated with the transformation of ‘the city’ during the transition to democracy after Franco’s dictatorship. To reflect this process, she took up photography and focused on capturing urban scenes of libertarian Barcelona in the late 70s, where she lived for a year, and the wild atmosphere of ‘La movida madrileña’ of the 1980s Madrid (a counterculture movement that emerged in the aftermath of Spanish transition). In 1985 she moved to London where she continued photographing the spectacle of the ‘foreign city’ with her new Polaroid. In the early 2000s she completed a doctoral thesis in Spanishcultural history focusing on visual arts and political and feminist theory. She has been lecturing at the University of London ever since. Alongside her academic life, she also embarked on a new journey turning her attention to painting. Some of her works are imbued with the theoretical concepts that she studies and teaches. She has participated in exhibitions in Spain and UK.


As an academic specialising in cultural studies, Celia is fascinated by music, film, art and politics in relation to issues of gender, class, nationhood or identity, which have inspired some of her works. For instance, in an exhibition she recently held in London ‘Ode to Reading’, she celebrated some of her favourite writers, making oblique references to their seminal works, like James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’, Virginia Woolf’s ‘Orlando’ or Cervantes’ ‘Don Quixote’. Celia is also concerned with the passing of time and existential predicaments; for example, how we seek beauty as an anti-dote to decay, the different ways in which we all bear the load of life and the sometimes oppressive feeling of solitude. Her faceless silhouettes and anonymous characters capture the universality of these concerns, sometimes with pathos, sometimes with humour. In some of her later work she has experimented with vibrant colours, disclosing the influence of artists such as Francis Bacon, Edward Munch, James Ensor, Otto Dix and George Grosz, who are all famed for their use of strong colours to communicate their own existentialist view of life.

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