by Lisa Birch // Mar. 13, 2017
This article is part of our artist Spotlight Series.
Beatriz Díaz Ceballos is a Valencia-based, Spanish artist whose enigmatic work creates ties between socio-cultural activity and literary creativity and poetry. She tends to work within small formats, creating intricate sculptures that often take the shape of books, letters, texts and trees. Through these material forms, the capacity of speech is expressed and highlighted. The artist also examines the concept of memory as a powerful way to relate to and recall the past, as well as create our present.
Memory plays a vital role in her work. The conscious and subconscious accumulation of information is essentially the making of the individual’s personal biography. Ceballos believes that every human being has a unique story to tell, commenting: “We are our memories. What we have lived has been changing and molding us as people. It is what we are. My own memory enables me to place myself and to understand my own story, and I find it fascinating.” Her work incorporates the use of hands as a means of defining individuality and as a form of communication with the world. They are the tools from which we are able to take, receive, touch, feel, create, paint, and write and her work expresses our different emotional states connected to the relationship between the use of hands and the mind.
Letters are also fundamental in her expression of a multitude of ideas, thoughts, and feelings. The union of those two elements, hands and letters, is extremely powerful. The use of hands gives the work a human value, as they indicate a personal presence, while the letters evoke the concept of storytelling. Her sculptures are metaphorical: letters slipping through fingers are representations of lived experiences through a narration of events. Others can be seen grasping onto the words, reluctant to forget their past memories, while some are eagerly reaching out, seeking new sensations. These works are her interpretation of the interaction and correlation between hands and words.
Recently, she has been working in a larger scale, producing book and tree sculptures. Books enable the memory of what has been read to keep living, they are accumulations of remembrances and, according to Ceballos, “come to life thanks to the words that make them”. Interested in natural materials, such as wood and paper, she uses sourced recycled matter to give life to tree sculptures. She explains the process: “My trees are stories, they are magical, they represent the cycle of life. Life is circular, it is movement and only in the midst of nature, completely immersed in it, one is aware of its immensity and its supremacy. It is a power that is able to overshadow and dwarf any given inconvenience by its grandeur and splendor”. The trees create a unique sense of light and shadow, evoking a sense of reflection and introspection. As an artist, she seeks to connect with others, believing that her work should not be explained, but felt. Books, trees and simple letter formations create visual messages that are full of magic and poetry, allowing memory to empower the viewer to experience the formation of their own biography.