La huella del tiempo

Amparo de la Sota

23 MAY – 26 JULY 2024

The Trace of Time (La huella del tiempo) is Amparo de la Sota’s first individual exhibition at Galería Vilaseco. An exhibition featuring a total of 24 textile pieces made in different materials, supports, and sizes. The title refers to the imprint of time on old everyday fabrics such as tablecloths, napkins, and gauze.

Amparo de la Sota’s canvases are hieroglyphs that need not be deciphered. Her stitches write in unknown languages, they create stories that go beyond the surface and whose end does not matter.  Amparo was born in Madrid in 1963. From her parents, both artists, she inherited the eye, the gift of seeing beauty in the every day: in the geometry of a landscape, in the progression of a score, in the colours of a map. Her mother, a painter, transformed canvases into clothes, mixing techniques and blurring boundaries. Hence Amparo’s love of fabrics, and her inherited linen (sheets, tablecloths, napkins) supported her work. She dyed them with coffee and tea, as she had seen in the childhood.

A visit to a Paul Klee exhibition at fourteen meant more than looking was needed. With a loom, she began to invent universes; they had Klee’s colours and geometries, they also found inspiration in pre-Columbian textiles, in their infinite and ordered repetition, in their attempt to explain the cosmos. 

The loom was a typewriter on which it was not the words that mattered, but the rhythmic sound of the keys, the beauty of the spelling. Perhaps that is why she began to study Arabic philology, because of the hypnotic, continuous and incomprehensible writing, because she was fascinated with unknown and beautiful symbols.  

But once the code is deciphered, the magic is broken. Amparo decided to keep the secret, and philology gave way to extensive training in the techniques of weaving and natural dyes. Later, embroidery freed her from the rigidity she felt with that instrument. The thread became pencil and the fabric became notebook: she created her language, a narrative of cadences, forms and pauses that unfold in the gallery like newly discovered scrolls.  

We abandon meanings and take refuge in rhythms: parallel lines, endless grids and graphics that create involuntary galaxies on the back. Her pieces resemble atlases of another planet, swarms of insects and ocean currents. They are the automatic writing of needle and thread, born of slowness, repetition and silence. Like a mantra, they evoke languages that barely touch consciousness.

There is an impulse that leads us to fill in the gaps. We draw with the ink of a pen on the edges of a sheet of paper: a daily horror vacui that keeps us anchored to sanity. Amparo does it with needle and thread on a tablecloth with several lives. She reproduces grids, dots and lines that resemble pentagrams, patterns and symmetries.

Paul Klee wrote that art does not reproduce the visible, but makes it visible. These grids could serve as a template. We fragment the world to try to understand it, to help in the complicated task of finding out who we are and where we belong.