Francisca Artigues, an elderly lady, embroiders table linen at her home in Majorca. The scene wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary in an island where the art of brocade is preserved by women her age—despite being gradually set aside by younger generations—, were it not for the fact that the embroiderer is Miquel Barceló’s mother and the drawings she stitches have been made by her son.
Miquel Barceló’s international recognition has certainly made each of his steps relevant, the last of which he has taken with his mother. Since 2010, Ms. Artigues has devoted hundreds of hours to embroidering his son’s drawings.
She recalls how a submarine universe started unfolding on the linen: “Miquel started it by giving me some drawings on paper. Afterwards, he started painting fishes, sponges and corals directly on the cloth.” The emerging sea was then sewed stitch by stitch. Abyssal creatures, sharks, swordfish, ink-squirting octopuses, turtles, lobsters, prawns, starfish and majestic rays swimming over a background of algae and red coral… With time, the work continued to expand and land beings started populating the linen. Among flowers, bushes and palm-trees live ancient reptiles and insects. And there’s more: birds, bats, monkeys, deer, horses and elephants, as well as hooks, arrows, axes, knives and forks—primitive tools at the service of men in their permanent effort to rule over nature.
The result showcases Barceló’s trademarks, from media experimentation and matter painting to nature-inspired, Mediterranean and anthropological motifs.