maqueta piramides
Past exhibition

Esther Ferrer. Intertwined Spaces

03.16.2018 - 06.10.2018

Esther Ferrer (Donostia/San Sebastián, 1937) is a pioneer in performance art in Spain, as well as one of the leading performance artists in the country. She took the first steps in her career in the late 1970s. Since then, she has developed several lines of thought through a variety of forms and materials.

Her oeuvre is a part of the Minimalist and Conceptual Art movement. In the 1960s, she was under the influence of Stéphane Mallarmé, Georges Perec, John Cage, and the feminist theorists of the day. In 1967, she joined Zaj, a group established by Walter Marchetti, Ramón Barce, and Juan Hidalgo. With Zaj, Ferrer found in action art her main medium. From 1970 on, however, she returned to the visual arts in the form of staged photographs, installations, paintings and drawings based on the prime number series, objects and sound recordings. With straightforward, subversive and shocking performances, the members of Zaj stuck together until 1996, when the group dissolved after a retrospective at the Reina Sofía Museum (MNCARS) in Madrid.

According to Ferrer, performance art is “art that involves time and space with the presence of the audience—an audience that is made of participants rather than viewers.” She values the audience’s freedom above everything else. No conclusions are offered by the artist: only questions for the viewers to find an answer of their own, for them to generate their own personal interpretation of the artwork.

Throughout her long career, Esther Ferrer has participated in countless action art festivals and shown her works in many museums. She is also the recipient of a high number of accolades. She represented Spain at the Biennale di Venezia (1999) and was awarded the Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas (2008), the Gure Artea Saria of the Basque Government (2012), the Marie Claire Prix de l’art contemporain (2014) and the Premio Velázquez de Artes Plásticas (2014).

Most of the works in this exhibition have never been shown before. They will be activated in special ways, by means of performances and interactions with visitors.

Esther Ferrer
Pyramid Shaped Spatial Projects on Wall series (Serie Proyectos espaciales piramidales sobre muro)end of the 1970s
Model. Thread, nails and oil paint
60 x 72 x 6 cm
Esther Ferrer Archive
© Esther Ferrer, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2018

The Exhibition

Entrance to an Exhibition

Esther Ferrer
Entrance to an Exhibition (Entrada a una exposición), model, 1990
White and black artificial marabou feathers, reflective paper and foam board
51 x 23 x 18.5 cm
Esther Ferrer Archive
© Esther Ferrer, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2018

The Laughs of the World

The Laughs of the World (Las risas del mundo), 1999/2018
37 audiovisual screens, metal structures, and vinyl material
4 x 12.70 x 6 m
Esther Ferrer Archive
© Esther Ferrer, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2018
Photo: Erika Ede

Suspended Chairs series

Esther Ferrer
Suspended Chairs series (Serie Sillas suspendidas), 1980s
Drawing. Color pens on paper
20 x 30 cm
Esther Ferrer Archive
© Esther Ferrer, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2018

Spatial Projects series

Esther Ferrer
Spatial Projects series (Serie Proyectos espaciales), 1977
Drawing. Ink on graph paper
21 x 29.5 cm
Esther Ferrer Archive
© Esther Ferrer, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2018


Esther Ferrer Artistas | Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa

Ferrer, Esther

Donostia/San Sebastián, 1937

In 1963, Esther Ferrer, together with José Antonio Sistiaga, established the Taller de Libre Expresión (Free Expression Workshop) in San Sebastián, and later the Escuela Experimental (Experimental School) in Elorrio. In 1967, she joined the Zaj...

Discover the artist