No Beginning or End (The Rhizome)

A rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo. The tree is filiation, but the rhizome is alliance, uniquely alliance.


These pieces are inspired by a Spanish handmade lace commonly known as ‘Tenerife lace’, a textile initially introduced to several settlements in colonial South America. Over time, the technique was reproduced and taught across generations, to be modified in the hands of local weavers and acquire its own identity, defined by a new use of color -an exuberant bold palette- and the introduction of local iconography. The most iconic example of this textile is ‘ñanduty’, a type of lace particular to and emblematic of the area known today as Paraguay.  

Even though, in terms of its formal aspect, I chose to keep the traditional structure of the ‘Tenerife lace’, which is characterized by the repetition of sun motifs, my introduction of colors is paying homage to transculturation.  

The scale of the works from this series ranges from rather small sizes (24 x 24 x 2 in) to hanging large-scale works (95 x 74 x 2 in). In the latter, ‘repetition-and-variation’, a common trait in my body of work conveys the relativity of our senses of self; such repetition appears in the subtle differences between the panels, and in the hues and textures of each of the ‘threads’.  

I achieve this interlaced effect by pouring thin lines of semi-flexible resin -tinted in different colors and transparencies- within the open trails of a single-use mold; the silicone lines leave behind bas-relief textures in the resin-form. The layering process also de-fines the thickness’ level in each area and creates the impression of a multidirectional flow.  

In the process of making these works, I started to reappropriate the traditional ‘sun’ motif, reinterpreting it as a ‘rhizome’. According to Deleuze, it is characterized by ‘ceaselessly established connections between semiotic chains, organizations of power, and circumstances relative to the arts, sciences, and social struggles.’  

I interpret the rhizome as a symbol of cultural resistance, given its conspicuous multiplicity and simultaneity. For me, it represents a silent yet powerful force that, thanks to its net-like structure and lack of a single identifiable core, can defy and oppose a greater force. In this case, the rhizome opposes the hegemonic power.  

The weave in these works carries the capacity for withstanding the many faces of violence by imagining and crafting forms of re-existence. The net-like structure of these works alludes to a social fabric, an understanding of culture as a series of interconnections and interdependencies. The void spaces echo the histories silenced in the context of power struggles. 

– Paula Córdoba


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