Las cosas [The Things] - Festival Bon 9 - Schalachthaus Theater - Berna (Switzerland) - 2006 - Photo: Hewittr


Esther Ferrer

Esther Ferrer (b. 1937, San Sebastián, Spain) lives and works in Paris.

A proponent of free expression, confrontation, feminism and authentic experience, Ferrer is best known for her performances, her principal form of artistic expression since 1965, both as a soloist and as a member of the pioneering experimental music and performance art group ZAJ (formed in 1964). Her work has always been oriented to ephemeral artistic action rather than to permanent artistic production. She created, in collaboration with the painter José Antonio Sistiaga, the first Workshop for Free Expression, in the early 60s, an activity that was to inspire other similar groups in Spain. Beginning in the 70s, she has also been quite active in the plastic arts: reworked photographs, installations, canvases and constructions based on the prime number series Pi, and so forth.

Her work proposes a particular kind of minimalism, which she sometimes terms "rigorous absurdity". Ferrer has performed across Europe (Yugoslavia, Poland, Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Hungry, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Spain, etc.), as well as in Cuba, the United States, Mexico, Japan, Thailand Korea and Palestine. She has exhibited widely, including at Galerie Donguy (Paris), Statsgalerie (Stuttgart), Koldo Mitxelena Kulturunea (San Sebastián) and Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (Sevilla). In 1999 Ferrer was one of two Spanish artists chosen to represent Spain at the Venice Biennial.

In 2009, the Spanish Ministry of Culture awarded her the National Fine Arts Prize. In 2012, the Basque government awarded her the Gure Artea, a prize for artistic creation. In 2014 she was awarded the MAV Prize – Mujeres en las Artes Visuales [Women in Visual Arts] and the Velázquez Prize. In 2013, the Regional Contemporary Art Fund in Brittany (FRAC) hosted the first major retrospective exhibition of Esther Ferrer in France, Le chemin se fait en marchant (Face A) [The path is created as you walk], followed by Face B. Image/Self-Portrait, at the MAC/VAL in 2014. A new retrospective titled ‘All Variations Are Valid, Including This One’, curated by Laurence Rassel and Mar Villaespesa, opened in Madrid at Museo Nacional Reina Sofía in October 2017.

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