Carne de mi carne: Piel, 2021
Director, production, script: María Alcaide
Performers: Lepen Alcaide, Antonio Alcaide, Alicia Alcaide, Nieves G. Alcaide, Blas Alcaide, José A. Alcaide; with the collaboration of María Martín, medical specialist
Courtesy the artist
soo fat, 2021
Sculpted foam seats covered with silicone, hand cut by the artist with a special ham knife
Courtesy Fundación Montemadrid
Chronicles of the self. A family tale
Carne de mi carne (Meat of My Meat) is a first-person narration of the artist’s experience as a female and feminist body in her particular family and cultural environment: her parents are butchers in a small village a few kilometres from Jabugo (Huelva), known as the home of the Iberian pig and the best ham in Spain.
Composed of two episodes, Entrañas y Piel (Entrails and Skin), it is a speculative documentary that investigates the meaning that pigs and their meat have for local history, the history of her family, the convictions of the brother she has to come to terms with and who continues to work in the family business, as well as their significance for her own life. Reminiscent of the ethnographic films of the last century, the short films set out to unmask, through humour and provocation, the cultural and symbolic mechanisms that still dominate at least a part of our society. In the words of the artist: ‘It is not easy to be a woman, to be born in a small town and to acknowledge oneself as a feminist. Not yet. It is not easy. It’s not comfortable. It’s not what you hope for.’
The narrative of Entrañas includes the controversial theory of the anthropologist Priscille Touraille, who argues that a greater consumption of meat by men compared to women in prehistoric times could be one of the first causes of the development of patriarchy.
In the video installation Piel, the artist combines the reality of her family and cultural environment with reflection on identity and identities, to question roles and stances regarding gender inequalities and the determinism of genetics and origin. She examines the spaces in which women are represented and what it means to carry out manual work today, attempting to dispel some myths about rural communities based on knowledge she has acquired in person. The skin as a repository of genetics, experiences, desires, and as a surface of resistance to the aggression of a hetero-patriarchal society.
The artist invites a pig called Lepen Alcaide and members of her family and community to participate in the film. Alcaide skilfully works with the objects, spaces and settings in which she inserts her works. Moreover, performance, an essential part of her artistic practice, facilitates the creation of narratives and fictions, at the same time showing the eternal suspicion that reality is fictional in its nature. Fluidly moving between the political and the personal, her natural ability to transfer the social conflicts of the present day to subjective experience enables discourse that is both open and recognisable.
María Alcaide (*1992, Aracena, ES) graduated in fine arts from the University of Seville (ES), but also has a bachelor of fine arts of the University Paris VIII (FR) and a research master in art and design of EINA-UAB School in Barcelona (ES). Her research work has been presented in academic contexts such as the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris (ES), the Universität der Künste, Berlin (DE), the Complutense University of Madrid (ES) or the Tàpies Foundation in Barcelona (ES). Internationally, she has shown her work in Gallery Joey Ramone, Rotterdam (NL), Muu Kaapeli, Helsinki (FI), ACUD, Berlin (DE) and Reed College, San Francisco (US). She has been selected at Jeune Création and Salon de Montrouge 64, Paris (FR) and also has been artist in residence in Agora Collective, Berlin (DE), LeFugitif, Leipzig (DE) or in Artifariti, Western Sahara among others. Recently, she has received the prizes Fundació LaCaixa and Generación 2021 (La Casa Encendida), as well as different grants from the Spanish Ministry of Culture (INJUVE, Spanish College in Paris) and has been selected as artist in residence at Kunsthaus Bregenz (AT), Cité des Arts de Paris (FR) Fabra i Coats, Barcelona (ES), La escocesa, Barcelona (ES), Andalusian Center for Contemporary Creation, Cordoba (ES) or Bilbaoarte, Bilbao (ES). Her latest individual project has been exhibited in La Capella, Barcelona (ES) as part of LOOP Festival.