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Marisa González, the great pioneer of electronic art who stood up to Antonio López


Multimedia artist, activist and feminist, the creator participates in 13 exhibitions without getting the official recognition that her work deserves

Pioneer in the use of new technologies in art.

Bilbaína who could not leave her city until she was 21 years old.

Combative and feminist.

Marisa González was the student who contradicted Antonio López.

"I wasn't interested in painting refrigerators and cabinets," is how he has described the author's work.

In his works he deals with gender violence and industrial dismantling, always from a critical perspective.

He doesn't mind bothering.

About to turn 80, it seems that the history of art would have always left her at the gates of the great prizes.

Her work is still waiting for a great retrospective that will help place this artist in her deserved place.

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"I'm interested in what disappears"

Marisa González arrives for a direct interview at the gym that she visits twice a week.

These are the only two days in which he delays the start of his work routine, which begins around nine and ends late in the afternoon because, if possible, until lunch he does it in any corner of the house-workshop .

“Art is the most important thing in my life,” she says.

“Even more than my three children and they know it.

I adore all three.

The same as my partner, Germán.

But from a very young age I wanted to dedicate myself to this and it was very difficult for me to achieve it ”.

González's studio in Madrid.Luis Sevillano

There is a universal conviction that there is no better portrait of an artist than the one that can be seen in his workplace.

There is the material with which art is built.

Marisa González's studio is located in the heart of the Justicia neighborhood, in the center of Madrid.

They are about 200 square meters of an old house in which there are few centimeters left to occupy.

The original living rooms, bedrooms and dressing rooms have been, for more than 40 years, a laboratory and a living repository of all the themes with which the artist works.

At the entrance to the apartment there are two tables.

In one you can see objects that have in common having been rescued by the author.

From a beach in the north she has brought a greenish surgical mask due to the saltpeter and remains of molluscs and algae.

These archaeological remains seem to be viewed with suspicion from another neighboring table where numerous stacks of catalogues, specialized magazines or books inspired by or made by the artist coexist.

The corners where the accumulation of cameras or the bodies of old rubber dolls form surreal still lifes that lead to a large room where the most archaic monitors coexist with the latest Apple technology.

Because González is that artist who was ahead of the use of technology in art in Spain thanks to her stays in the United States.

Although before she had to make her particular journey in Madrid.

The eldest of a family of three middle-class siblings from Bilbao, motherless from a very young age, she had to wait until she was 21 to come of age and be able to travel to Madrid to study Fine Arts.

In Bilbao, she left behind a piano degree she had completed and her father, angry at her daughter's disobedience, but willing to help her with 4,000 pesetas that she kept in the bundle with which she left the house.

Another corner of Marisa González's studio.Luis Sevillano

Combative and famous for championing human rights and the causes of her fellow artists, as soon as she started in Madrid she had her first disagreement.

She, who was looking to break with everything known, met Antonio López as a teacher.

“I left home in 1967 and lived the French May in Madrid.

In Fine Arts, the first day the painter Antonio López talked to us about going back to our family roots, to the past... I, who wanted to see the world, experiment and get to know the avant-garde, told him that I was not interested in anything that He said.

I stood up and didn't go back to his classes.

I was not at all interested in painting refrigerators or cabinets, but the curious thing was that he captivated many students who began to paint like him.

They are what I call

the antoñitos

and out there they continue to do the same”.

The opportunity to enter other worlds was presented in the form of a scholarship in the United States.

First at the Art Institute of Chicago and two years later at the Corcoran School in Washington.

It was there that he learned to combine art and new technologies, including the artistic use of the fax.

“In Chicago I had someone very important in my life as a teacher: the feminist artist Mary Beth Edelson.

Thanks to her I was able to present my first pieces on gender violence, such as

La descarga

(1975), made with panels made with Thermofa photocopies”.

a sprawled doll

During the Chicago stage, what would be one of his best-known series arose, the polyptych entitled

La rape


“It was an exercise for the photography class.

It was 1972 and I went looking for material in the black neighborhood of Chicago, at that time not recommended.

In an alley I found a doll that I photographed spread out and violated.

I sat her on a wall and behind her I was able to capture the perplexed look of a child”, says González.

Series of photos by Marisa González to women artists on the subject of violence and repression suffered by women in dictatorships, exhibited in Washington in 1975.

“I took the image to the school and manipulated it with the color photocopier.

I kept the material in a box and in 1992 I composed the series and gave it the title:



With my gallery owner, Evelyn Botella, we agreed to take the piece to Arco, but it was 1993 and the half-buried bodies of the Alcàsser girls had just appeared.

In the end we changed our minds."

The work would later be exhibited in numerous exhibitions.

Industrial architecture and its dismantling is another of the great themes addressed by Marisa González over time.

In 2000 she was able to work on her well-known work

De ella Lemóniz


In it, he documents the dismantling of the controversial homonymous nuclear power plant built on the Basque coast in the 1970s, which never came into operation due to ETA attacks and constant demonstrations.

“Thanks to a brother I contacted the company that was awarded the dismantling works.

They gave me all the facilities and I got a truckload of documentation.

Papers and abundant junk that formed a whole social metaphor.

Those were the remains of a city from which we were able to learn details of its inner life, including those that illustrated discrimination against women in a strange city like Lemóniz was going to be ”, she recalls.

Detail of the photos of Marisa González to women artists.

The exhibitions and public interventions of this artist have been constant.

These days she has two individual exhibitions (at the Vanguardia gallery in Bilbao and at the Isabel Hurley gallery in Malaga) and 11 collective ones underway.

Her work has been seen in various spaces.

In 2015, in Tabacalera (Madrid) they organized a retrospective for her, but not the one she surely deserves.

The same goes for official awards.

“I don't work thinking about prizes, but I admit that the National Plastic Arts Award would make me excited.

They tell me that I was a finalist in the last Velázquez, although they finally gave it to Elda Cerrato, an Argentine visual artist born in Italy.

While the recognitions arrive or not, Marisa González continues working with recycled elements and portraying the fruits that she finds in the nearby stores.

At the suggestion of her eldest daughter, the architect Nerea Calvillo (specialized in the investigation of the visual representation of air in the atmosphere), she is making an inventory of all her work and her archives.

“When something happens to me, I better get it all sorted out,” she says.

She has not stopped activism and in any forum one can find her protesting because she is one of those who believe that women's quotas are still necessary in all workplaces.

"We must demand that the presence of women be imposed in the controls, not only in intermediate positions."

And as a sign of that interest in continuing to collaborate,

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Source: elparis

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