”In these sculptures, Mercedes Azpilicueta looks at the construction of masculinity in New Spain’s colonial fashion, exploring gender as a category that defines as much as it confines. Extending into bondage restraints, straps and belts, her garments remind us that in the process of becoming subjects, our bodies are subjected to a symbolic regime organised around class, race and gender. Weaving metallic yarns into knitwear, her textile works at Gasworks combine Baroque aesthetics with glitter-drenched queer nightlife.”
Sabel Gavaldon, Bondage of Passions, Gasworks, London. 2021
”Guided by three voices embodying three separate characters and perspectives, in Mercedes Azpilicueta’s Cuerpos Pájaros [Body-Birds], we witness an intersection of images and reflections on the body. It is a fragmented body, one that cannot give itself up as whole, and from which we glean the most imperceptible facets and imperfections, even as we are unable to ascribe a specific identity to it. (…) In this choreography and collection of bodily detail, filmed by the artist in Buenos Aires in the summer of 2018, Azpilicueta renders a collective body being transformed, one chasing an equally fractured idea of beauty, as we catch sight of it looking at its own reflection on its smartphone.”
Alessandra Troncone, S_HE DEVIL curated by Studio Stefania Miscetti, MAXXI, Rome. 2021
“Mercedes performed a cleansing ritual of the exhibition space with rue, a plant that has both protective and abortifacient powers. This invisible performance paid a tribute to specific types of knowledge that primarily disseminated among women – such as midwives and witches – before religion, capitalism and modern medicine demonized them. It also recalls the ambiguous properties of many medicinal plants that travelled across the Atlantic, from the “New” World to the Old and back, creating new hierarchies of knowledge under the European colonial order – a history retraced by Mercedes through the veins of the Royal Botanical Garden’s plants.”
Virginie Bobin, Bestiario de Lenguitas, Centro Centro, Madrid 2019-20
“The artist sees both Lucia Miranda and Eduarda Mansilla as emancipated but uncelebrated women. They both ventured on long journeys, physical as well as mental. The videos and sounds, which refer to the characters of Mansilla’s books and Mansilla’s life, add to the feeling of entering a bygone world that is also familiar.”
Nick Aikens, The Captive: Here’s a Heart for Every Fate, Telling Untold Stories: Positions #5, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven 2019-20
“Yegua-yeta-yuta is an evolving solo performance by Azpilicueta that is part scripted, part improvised. Composed from a litany of hundreds of pejorative, abusive, and vulgar insults directed at women in Argentina, it transforms the everyday language of misogyny and harassment into a kind of tragicomic exorcism. Many of the words derive from the street slang of Buenos Aires, especially lunfardo, a colloquial and cryptic dialect that first arose among working-class Italian-immigrants and tango communities in Argentina and Uruguay during the late 1800s. […] Accompanied by a percussive beat, Azpilicueta reclaims the power to offend, distorting and distending the epithets into something powerful and playful rather than weak and degrading.”
Latitudes [Mariana Cánepa Luna & Max Andrew], ‘Today is our tomorrow’, PUBLICS, Helsinki, 2019.
“Urban spaces influence and transform the human voice, affecting not only what we can hear, but also how we can make our voices heard within them. Artist Mercedes Azpilicueta and urbanist John Bingham-Hall explore this relationship through vocal experiments recorded at three Rotterdam sites with distinct sonic qualities. The urban setting is mirrored in vocality as the non-verbal singing voices offer guidance to imagine the space around them. Unexpectedly, the baritone singer at the metro station resembles the ‘buffo’ character (from the comic genre opera buffa) as his voices traverses and ‘dismisses’ the city noise, but also playfully engages with it.”
Kris Dittel, Scores for Rotterdam, Post- Opera, TENT Rotterdam, 2019
“Azpilicueta began working with cloths and textiles during her university period in Buenos Aires, and then moved to Rotterdam, where she was introduced to performance art. It was in Italy, where she has been living recently for two years before heading back to The Netherlands, where she connected again with craft work, as well as with her fascination with the Baroque. A movement that she understands as a transhistorical force, or an expressive drive that inflames language, meaning and aesthetic forms in its way.”
Julia Morandeira Arrizabalaga, El viejo sueño de la simetría / The old dream of symmetry, NoguerasBlanchard, Madrid, 2019.
“Mercedes Azpilicueta’s works have the potency of a love letter found in a wardrobe, a text wished for in the middle of the night, the yearning memory of a relative’s words. They deal with personal emotions familiar to us all. A long-distance call, an email that arrives just in time, a heart that beats like when we run for a bus that waits for us to catch up. The fade- out of the reggaeton of the van pulling away from the traffic light, the street trader’s words and catchphrases and singsong calls. Her work investigates—through language, the body and what we hear—all that we take from the outside and all that settles in us, becoming something personal, but also something that connects us. Her voice is the one that listens attentively to what has passed through us in everyday life and reassures us: “trust me sister, those words have to do something, even now.”
Laura Hakel, Cuerpos Pájaros (Body-Birds), Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, 2018/19
“Mercedes Azpilicueta’s artistic practice brings together various characters from the past and the present, who manifest as voices, shapes, texts, traces and memories into her multi-layered works. Calling herself a “dishonest researcher”, Azpilicueta navigates through multiple references and fields of knowledge, from art history to popular music, literature to street culture, falling in love with dissident figures and trajectories — feminist, queer, migrant, exiled individuals — who haunt her scripts, performances and videos. Yet, her work never indulges into cold reverence or archival fascination. By engaging the body with all its flaws and potentials — her own body, that of her models and collaborators, that of the spectators, but also fantasized ones — Azpilicueta embraces its fragility as well as its capacity for resistance and care.”
Virginie Bobin for Bestiaire of Tonguelets, (2017 – ongoing)
“In her practice Mercedes Azpilicueta utilizes her voice and body as affective media. Recently she has introduced dance, movement and choreography in her live works. Various elements and bodies interact within a space to constitute and convey emotion and meaning. Azpilicueta opts for an increasingly loose methodology to allow for contingency and make room for improvisation, association and more playfulness. Starting point is sensing and understanding the other through non-rational relations. Central to this investigation is the female body, its relationship with other bodies, reproduction and bacteria.”
Vincent van Velsen, Molecular Love, RijksakademieOPEN, Amsterdam, 2016.
“Azpilicueta´s work is significant insofar as she reproduces the affective marks of lived language even when she does not understand the logical markers of the language before her. Mercedes uses her own body as space where the affective traces of others´ language are gathered as sediment, traces that she brings back to life in making her work. In the privileged selection of the affective markers for her work, she retraces the evolution of language towards the total systematisation of ancient forces of production and mimetic reception, and tends to release those of magic.”
Daniela Brunand, Geometric Dancer Doesn’t Believe in Love, Finds Aspiration and Ecstasy in Spirals at SlyZmud, Buenos Aires, 2016.
“Somewhere between the body and language, without being either but perhaps both at the same time, the voice is that space where our inside and outside merge. Using the voice as a primary source, Mercedes Azpilicueta unmasks on one hand the way the voice is created by the whisper, the shout, onomatopoeia, singing, snippets of conversation and poetry. On the other hand, the voice is also crossed by the absurd, the cliché, the sagacity and even violence, within the time and space in which we develop our humanity and locality. In Azpilicueta´s provocative and hypnotic vocal arrangements where the body is used as a musical instrument, that unique, inimitable voice appears in full nudity, showing its ability to lead us out of ourselves, to places where neither the body nor the mind would have allowed us to reach.”
Aguado, Alejandra, Todo Afuera Adentro / Everything outside inside at Móvil, Buenos Aires, 2015.
“Mercedes’s work addresses the ambiguity of a personal and unrestrained at times collective subjectivity, applied to a rigorous formality and experimentation with sound and the affective quality of language.”
If I Can´t Dance I Don´t Want to Be Part of Your Revolution. Amsterdam, 2013