Florencia Rojas ⎸ Argentina - Spain
Hello everyone, my name is Florencia Rojas, and I am an Argentinian-Spanish visual artist based in Madrid.
I mainly use photography, but sometimes I work on video, installations, or sculpture. I have always been interested in the ideas of refuge and secrecy. I often work on spaces containing historical layers of conflicts, memory, and heritage.
Avenida de los Poblados, sin número (2023)
"Avenida de los Poblados, sin número" is my recent project, part of a broader body of work I've been developing since 2017 on Madrid's historical memory. It explores the site of the former Carabanchel prison, controversially demolished in 2008.
The project consists of a series of black and white photographs showing the plants that have grown from the rubble of the prison, documents donated by the Coordinadora de Presos en Lucha (Coordinating Committee of Prisoners in Struggle), a large format watercolour representing a Roman mosaic, and small bronze hands holding a bowl and a spear.
The exhibition space comprises three floors, and the installation is arranged to represent the different strata of the Carabanchel site. It ranges from the subsoil where a hidden Roman site lies, represented by the mosaic and the bronze hands created for Minerva, to the roof of the prison where dissidents of the Coordinadora de Presos en Lucha rioted in the late seventies, and to the wild flora that grew from the rubble of the building after its demolition in 2008.
The Carabanchel demolition, despite persistent complaints from neighbours, was one of many examples of the conflict surrounding historical memory in Spain. My work aims to uncover and raise awareness of topics that have been overlooked or silenced. Specifically, the unexcavated Roman site, the paradigmatic building of Franco's repression that was unjustly demolished, and the riots of the Coordinadora de Presos en Lucha.
To carry out my projects, I have formed interdisciplinary teams of women who have approached the same territory from different fields of knowledge to understand the spaces in all their complexity. I have collaborated with archaeologists, botanists, historians, activists, and engineers.
As I get more projects off the ground, institutions have entrusted me with more funding. For instance, the installation of the Carabanchel prison was acquired by the CA2M museum in Madrid, and the previous project regarding some remnants of the Civil War called ‘Un incendio en el subsuelo’ received the support of The Community of Madrid for the significance of the country's historical memory, which is often uncomfortable and not visible enough in the Spanish contemporary art circuit.
Currently, I am enjoying an art residency in Matadero de Madrid, where I am beginning the third part of my trilogy on the city of Madrid. I am researching and starting to work on the largest Alien Internment Center in Spain and the current conflicts related to Spanish border policies and the disproportionate repression against migrants.
Please follow me on IG @florenciarot to see the development of the project, and if you give me your contact, I will be happy to invite you to the presentation of the project in Matadero next July.