Visita Guiada (Guided Visit) is a site-specific intervention by Elena Alonso in what used to be the former cold-storage room of the municipal slaughterhouse. The artist’s proposal stems from the idea of finding ourselves in an isolated chamber where there is hardly any communication with the outside world, and the concept of preservation, which has been linked to this space throughout its history.
After a number of visits to the building, the artist began to notice all the visual information that remained on the walls and ceilings. What caught her attention the most was a series of holes spread across the ceiling of the aisles, closed down during the most recent refurbishments.
The intervention proposes a tour of the building using a banister as a guide. A line drawn on the plan like a drawing but, on this occasion, shaped like a sculpture. It has been created with different materials including wood, cement, cork, painted plaster and copper, and shows the artist’s interest in crafts and design; both the tour and the touch of the materials used for creating the work delight visitors.
We find this original guide in the darkness of the building, and it invites us to discover a new perspective of the space. The holes have been reopened, light filters through and another gallery can be glimpsed up above, which used to be hidden from the visitors’ gaze.
This artistic intervention is a play on contrasts, obstacles and possibilities. In a way, it reminds us of visitable caves where the tour reveals the particular geomorphology that is still present in its previously static environment. In this case, the painstaking care with which the banister has been prepared contrasts with the brutality of the space.
The banister is both a guide and a barrier, a line that steers clear of obstacles and adds to the architecture of the building. A piece we can see and touch, one that lets us discover an unexpected place above our heads, though we only catch a glimpse of it in the distance.
Some images of the process
From the workshop installed in Matadero for three months, with the collaboration and counseling of Xflash.