Reflections

Sonia Domenech
30. November – 4. December 2020
Main Gallery

Reflections       30. November – 4. December 2020       Main Gallery

De Souza Gallery is pleased to present Reflections, a solo exhibition and online presentation of paintings by Sonia Domenech.
The collection previously formed part of a European wide exhibition of works with the title “Love in civil wars”.

Within the framework of the theme “Love in civil wars”, a collection of works by different artists of the European network EL-DRAC was presented in various disciplines (drawing, painting, photography, installations, sculpture..).
As part of the concept of the original exhibition, since 2011 some works have been shown in various European cities and in different combinations.

Reflections gives us an opportunity to revisit Sonia’s works with a more detailed and personal insight into the research, artistic process and family accounts relating to the Spanish civil war and war in general which influenced these works.
Sonia: ”Love in Times of War’  was a special commission, and it was quite a challenge to create this series of works.’

Sonia’s process started with a lot of research, and she started collecting images that were closest to her idea of love in wartime. Amongst others she found some relevant and iconic photographs by the famous war photographer and photojournalist Robert Capa, who also covered the Spanish civil war.
She decided to use the images that moved her the most for her works, in a way similar to Andy Warhol in his pop art.

At that time she was reading the book ‘Psychomagic: The Sacred Trap’ by Alejandro Jodorowsky. His idea of Psychomagic is based on the belief that the unconscious can be healed from trauma by performing specific acts.
According to Sonia her act of framing all her works with a heart in one way or another can be interpreted as an attempt to heal the pain that war has left in all of us.

Like in most Spanish families there were personal experiences and feelings involved that revolve around the topic of the Spanish civil war.
Sonia: ‘Personally I felt quite affected and confused with my father’s family having a military background and my mother’s family being Republicans. It caused me deep pain to feel a personal connection to so many deaths caused.’
This was one of the reasons why she started with a black heart encapsulating the figures of the ranks of the military returning home.

Carrying on with her research and seeing documentaries about the Second World War, and families from both sides hugging and forgiving each other, the heart took an even more significant part in these paintings.
The paintings tell us about a part of the historical memory of humanity. We all have relatives who have directly lived through the experience of a war, through the fear and pain. The barbarism of war has left its mark on everyone.

Sonia’s work is trying to help open a way of liberation from these experiences of the past, through and with the heart. The images represent often dangerous situations where love always intervenes in one way or another, big or small.
Sonia: ‘We should give the heart the opportunity to heal the pain that we carry from our past and step into a better future.’

Almost ten years after the paintings were exhibited for the first time they are as relevant as ever. In Spain some progress has been made in the historical coming to terms with the civil war. But divisions remain and are a reminder of the amount of time needed for healing and reconciliation.
The paintings can also be regarded as more universal, bridging the gap between past and present. Sonia’s paintings ask us to look at the consequences of all conflict, to not repeat past mistakes and to keep an open mind and heart, not to condemn ‘the other’, but to try to see and understand.

Exhibits

Amor en tiempos de guerra (Love in times of war)

2011, 100 x 120 cm, Acrylics on Canvas

“ ‘The falling soldier’ by Robert Capa was the perfect image to represent the blow, the fall, and the pain that death leaves, together with an army of soldiers who returned home and would never be the same again”

“Muerte de un miliciano de Robert Capa fue la imagen perfecta para representar el golpe, la caída, el dolor que deja la muerte junto a un ejercito de soldados que volvían a casa y nunca mas volverían a ser lo mismo.”


Hermanos (Brothers)

2011, 100 x 120 cm, Acrylics on Canvas

“Brothers on different sides of the war,
who had to face each other without choice”

“hermanos en diferentes bandos de la guerra
que se han tenido que enfrentar sin elección”


Mujeres guerrilleras (Guerrilla women)

2011, 100 x 120 cm, Acrylics on Canvas

“Not only did men go to war,
many women went for their ideals,
but others also went for revenge”

“No solo los hombres fueron a la guerra, muchas fueron por sus ideales pero otras también fueron porque les mataron a los hombres”


La huida (The escape)

2011, 100 x 120 cm, Acrylics on Canvas

“The love of a mother is more powerful than the fear to run to save lives, in wars, mothers are separated from their daughters”

“El amor de una madre es mas poderoso que el miedo para correr a salvar las vidas , en las guerras se da el caso en que las madres son separadas de sus hijas”


La espera (The wait)

2011, 100 x 120 cm, Acrylics on Canvas

“The love of a father in a bomb shelter protecting his daughter while waiting for the bombing to pass”

“El amor de un padre en un refugio antiaéreo que protege a su hija a la espera de que pase un bombardeo”


Los soldados vuelven a casa (The soldiers return home)

2011, 100 x 120 cm, Acrylics on Canvas

“The man touched by violent death, the black heart, all those mothers who waited for their children to return, made men, touched by war, men, that many of them were forced to fight”

“El hombre tocado por la muerte violenta, el corazón negro, todas esas madres que esperaban de vuelta a sus niños que volvían hechos hombres tocados por la guerra, hombres que muchos de ellos fueron obligados a luchar”

Installation Views