The Lozoya River surrounds the town of Buitrago like a coiled snake. In the Middle Ages, the town grew protected by the natural moat of the river and only required a thin wall. A lady dressed in beige walks the 800 meters of wall during mid-morning of this scorching Sunday in September. Among the tourists who read the information signs, the woman with straight hair, generous glasses, a small bag clutched like the Queen elizabeth (with both hands) and first communion gloves goes almost unnoticed. And so it will continue to be until two boys with asymmetrical black clothes and colorful hairs launch the first photos of Miss Beige and two octogenarians with sticks in hand wonder if “she is a nun or has she married and, where is the boyfriend?” “It is on the news and why do they take pictures of … the English or French or Catalan, where is it from?”
The Plaza del Castillo looks festive. The municipal music school of Buitrago has brought out its best performers and a child plays the trumpet what could be I know you, cod scored by Héctor Lavoe. Then a pianist will come teenager with Alicia Keys braids giving way to a band of parents who sing charanga melodies. We are in the tenth day (and town) of the Festival of Summer Scenes. Live art in Las Villas. The festival consists of taking five performers, current groundbreaking creators of the live intervention, to eleven locations in the Community of Madrid, sharing the space with local artists and artisans.
In the other corner of the Plaza del Castillo, seated on a wooden and wicker chair, Mari Carmen fits bobbins at the same rate as the pipes are eaten: “The brass band is a religion in this town,” she says. “Seeing the music school people play makes me happy because they were at low hours, almost about to close,” he adds. At a table, Mari Carmen exhibits her impressive creations: a sheet embroidered with grapes and wine glasses, some rugs “to put chandeliers on top” and three crochet headbands with an “Ibiza hippy” aesthetic. Mari Carmen says that when the City Council invited her to exhibit her “seams” on this day of “living art” she felt very flattered: “I was not very aware that this was art. But here I am, creating live.” He laughs and blushes.
Behind the communion between the art of the rug and video art, between the brass band and the map of sounds of the towns that Rev Silver is recording live, are the curators Juan Gómez Alemán and Rosa Ureta: “We have a gallery in Madrid of performance. We opened La Juan Gallery almost six years ago but we wanted to bring art to the people “, they explain, under the strong idea of bringing the performance to all corners because “at the moment the public is very small, and if they don’t come they won’t come”.
“Instead of landing five aliens in a town square, we thought it would be better to work with the community and mix them with local artisans and artists,” explains Rosa Ureta. A alien it is Marta Pinilla, wears as a suit (and hat) her own clothing made from the photos of her Polaroid. Talk to Loli Martín while she is doing needle: “Oh, Marta, I think it’s beautiful. You are a walking exhibition, a work of art with your photos and your bridles.” Marta explains: “They are portraits of the people who are participating in this. They tell me how they live and what they believe. Look, here the zambomberos from Colmenar de Oreja who taught me to dance jotas. And this is a punk artist from Navalcarnero. Loli Can I take a picture of you and put you up your skirt? ”
Two ladies make ashtrays out of clay and display polka-dotted vases. Ana Mari is one of them: “We have a craft club. I had been painting tiles for many years but I no longer know where to put them and now I am making clay.” He laughs and puts his glasses back on. “We are a bit out of date with this modern art. They have told me that there is a woman disguised as an ancient and I have not seen it. I do not know if she will sew or what she will do. But whatever she does I will like it because each one de-stresses as best she can. “says Ana Mari with brown hands and the rim of her glasses as well. The friend, Pilar Rodríguez, jokingly adds: “The artists among us support each other. But boy, between you and me, we are not artists,” the two septuagenarians laugh.
“Per-foWhat? “, One man says to another,” I am perfect but I have the ear that dances me “. The friend repeats that”perfohma“That” the new ones are that. “” I don’t know what it is, but let people come with new things, well, very good. “Pilar Rodríguez from the table:” Let’s see, we have seen other times people in disguise . Here we celebrate some very beautiful carnivals and we have a medieval party in October “.
The audience seated on the benches loudly applauded the appearance of three women dressed in rigorous black waving their skirts and shoes to the beat of bulerías. The performance artist Lidia Toga (guarded by her puppy) breaks the blank canvas and brushes the castle’s moat as fast as the 12-beat compass that it covers (and sounds).
“In the performance there are many streams; there is the most purist of the 70s and 80s, which are very serious performances, like liturgical ones. Close to the school of Marina Abramović, in which artists use her body as a canvas and support of the work from solemnity and ritual “, explains Juan Gómez Alemán. But there is a more modern school:” The other current rejects all that and poses live actions with various poetic readings. It is not dance, it is not theater, but it can be everything and nothing. It is more casual and even comical, because humor is a very serious thing. “
Allan Kaprow is one of the absolute referents in an art that It is not a hundred years old and its origins draw from the suffrage movement and the Cabaret Voltaire. “It was in the 60s when he started strong with Yoko Ono, and in Spain, from Navarra, the Zaj group that was formed by people like Esther Ferrer and Isidoro Medina Valcárcel”, explains the director of La Juan Gallery. Zaj proposed surreal actions such as starting a marching band, but instead of instruments, the members “made vegetables sound.” The performance It is a discipline that is currently being decoded and drawn, that is what “living art” is, and that has two variables that do not move: it involves the artist’s body and it is a unique experience of the moment.
“I have not realized that this lady was integrated into the group”, says Félix Quijada while looking with the eyes of the cat of Shrek to Miss Beige. “Seeing her gloves, with the heat, has already missed me, and seeing the girls take pictures of her … I guess she’s not like that, she’s doing like a theater, right?” Miss Beige remains impassive sitting on a wall with other grandparents with pets and dogs. A two-year-old boy comes up to him and says “hello.” Not a word. His face is serious and his mouth resists hermetic. “It is a defense of ugliness, it makes a portrait against how handsome we all are in the world. instagram. How false we are! “, Explains a teenager with a violin in her hand to her mother.
A few days later, Ana Esmith, the alter ego of Miss Beige clarifies to this newspaper: “I do not speak because I like that whoever looks at the caliber of what I am, where I come from or what happens to me. Not knowing how to place a female fictional character is one of the best tricks we can do to the patriarchy Neither pretty nor ugly, neither old nor young, neither happy nor sad “. Esmith assures that “we do not leave room for the reverie of the one who watches” and that “sometimes not understanding is the best thing that can happen because it makes the public leave the comfort zone and reflect”.
“Both the performance as traditional culture, such as esparto or bolillo or folklores, are marginal arts, and why not do it mainstream? Linking the new and the old, a very interesting marriage is established because in principle they are experiences that should not have been brought together “, assures Rosa Ureta as she watches how the children of the town take photos of Marta Pinilla’s dress or contemplate how it appears its castle in Lidia Toga’s drawing. And the curator Juan Gómez Alemán closes: “Poetics can manifest itself in the avant-garde, or in the interaction of the avant-garde with pure tradition. And that is where the strength of these squares resides: the creative overflow of yesterday and tomorrow.”