(Seville, 1968) began her career as a multidisciplinary artist in the early 1990s. Covering video, performance, photography and installation, her work is grounded in the deconstruction of hegemonic narratives and more particularly the clichés on the perceived Andalusian identity. Since her early actions, like Untitled (Sangre en la calle), 1992, featuring blood-splattered women spread-eagled on the streets of Seville, Albarracín has focused on women as repositories of mandates of submission and cultural constrictions.
In many of Pilar Albarracín’s works she humorously questions the clichés constructed around the Andalusian woman. In this performance recorded on video, Albarracín, wearing a bright red dress and a passionate expression rooted in Bizet’s Carmen, cuts the dress into hreds that she beats with eggs to cook the quintessential Spanish dish and title of the work, the Spanish omelette, eating herself in an anthropophagic spoof. The archetypal traditionalism of the scene contrasts with the modern industrial kitchen that is more in keeping with a television programme, thus accentuating the exaggerated and parodic nature of the action.
In Espejito (Little mirror), Albarracín humorously deconstructs the traditional Snow White story. When looking at him or herself in the mirror, the spectator is surprised to hear a voice repeating the word ‘ugly’. Popular stories and legends are full of beautiful princesses that reinforce the mandate that women must be beautiful above all else. In painting and in the history of symbols the mirror, an emblem of beauty, has traditionally been associated with female identity.
Untitled (Sangre en la calle) (Blood in the street) is a video developed around eight actions carried out by Pilar Albarracín in 1992 in different streets of Seville. During the performances, the artist appeared lying on the floor, covered in animal blood, as if she were the corpse of a battered woman. In each one of the actions she played a different character (in some she carried a shopping basket, in others a distinguished handbag) for the purpose of demonstrating that male chauvinist violence affected women of very different social classes. The performances crudely and directly beseeched spectators by making visible a reality that at that time was not covered by the media.