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Previously it was possible after leaving any exhibition by Esther Ferrer, for example the one in the same gallery Àngels-Barcelona in 2008, that one could have the sensation of being able to recognise the artist if one happened to pass her in the street, as in the majority of her works her own body had a very important presence. But no, this is precisely what doesn´t happen in the galería Àngels-Barcelona, gallery, because this time the artist’s approach is not through a gaze that observes its own body, so much as a perspective that seems to be able to enter into her little obsessions. In any case, this is what one intuits in the first space of the gallery, where a series of small models that would irk any architect fill the walls. These pieces like the ones that are in the second room and which correspond to the series “Números primos” (Prime numbers) are old works that in only a few cases have previously seen the light in an exhibition space. The models are elaborated with cheap materials –thread and cardboard- and the finish is shabby –bits of masking tape hold some threads to the outer parts of the walls of these small constructions -, as if these details and the large number of pieces denoted an urgency to resolve a need to fabricate.
So, in these small foam board spaces, Esther Ferrer threads the string from one wall to another, or from the roof to the floor, not in a chaotic manner or with a dramatic sense of horror vacui, as happens in the installations of Chiharu Shiota –also currently in Barcelona-, but on the contrary: cleanly, with an order that seems to rest upon some mathematical parameters that I’m unfamiliar with. Only a few stitches serve for the artist to transform the spaces that she proposes and to fill them with geometric forms that change according to the viewpoint.
In the second space of the gallery one can see anther series, in this case two-dimensional pieces: drawings from the series “Números primos”, that seem like mosaics made on square and hexagonal bits of paper, all of the same size, and painted with biro. Once more pulchritude is sacrificed in exchange for responding to the urgency to make. These drawings act like sketches or small plans that later have been carried into large dimensions, as she did in Vitoria in 2003 with the installation for the Parque del Prado, and are organised in the form of a mathematical table, that is to say, they are divided into cells of the same dimensions. Some of these are painted in colour or she has marked the diagonal, on others she has written a number, always prime, as indicated by the name of the series. The drawings share with the models this order that leads one to think that there are some hidden mathematical criteria that appear ambiguous and organize the elements. In any case, the representations of possible plane surfaces that we see in the second room have a much more playful character than the models, it’s as if each piece could be the board of a board game. Somehow or other, these drawings or mosaics keep on reminding me of a sort of square mandala, that repeating over and over again the same specific modular structure, leads to a cadence of a meditational character.
“Numeros primos” is not made up of just drawings and models, as Esther Ferrer wrote the text called “Le poème des nombres premiers” (The poem of prime numbers), in 1996, where she formulated a declaration of intent. For her it was important at that moment to be able to elaborate a series of pieces that weren´t governed by aesthetic criteria, and as such subjective, so much as they stemmed from some already established parameters. In this sense, what better than the prime numbers for their practically magical capacity to give rise to facts such as the famous spiral of Ulam, also explored in some pieces by Esther Ferrer.