After a resounding and successful festival run with her last few films including winning prizes at Locarno Film Festival, Zinebi, Abyciné and Aguilar de Campoo Film Festival, Elena López Riera comes to NYC for a solo exhibition at MoMA PS1.
It is with great pleasure to welcome her to UnionDocs to show an expanded program of recent short films that intermingle observational and essayistic approaches with filmic portraiture to form poetic representations specific to her native coastal town in Southern Spain. Riera’s films nimbly capture microcosms of social and cultural phenomena that resonate widely. She lays bare the complexity of gender and sexuality uncovering the latent complications of regional tradition, ritual, and expectations passed along through intergenerational identities.
After screening her latest film at TIFF’s Wavelengths Andréa Picard noted it as, “Elegant, sly, and finely observed… a fascinating film about men, as much as it is about birds, invokes themes of masculinity and courtship, speaking volumes about intimate, patriarchal village communities along the Mediterranean, where silent physical gestures often convey more than words,”
The film follows one of the most central paloma races from the artist’s hometown, where trainers prepare their birds for a special race won not by the fastest bird, but by the male pigeon who is able to chase and “conquer” a single female one. The race begins with the flight of this female bird, followed by the release of a multicolored, swarming flock of male pigeons in hot pursuit. Riera will also be sharing a sneak peek at her latest project, a work in progress that looks at the concept of litany, as a performative discourse on catholic traditions in Southern Spain. Elena in this work parses the collective voices and rituals of generational expectations for love, desire, family, marriage, and partnership. In this project she engages a queer theoretical discourse to explore the deconstruction of societal gender expectations.
The screening will be followed by a conversation between Elena López Riera and MoMA PS1 Assistant Curator Jocelyn Miller.