Es Baluard Museu d'Art Contemporani de Palma exhibits “The Archive of Dust: An Ongoing Project”, an exhaustive overview of the fundamental lines that characterize Elena del Rivero’s (Valencia, 1949) work gravitating around the attacks of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001, in New York. The project deals with loss, the collective memory and pain, as well as with the construction of the existential pillars that make up the beliefs and values ​​of society to rethink the future.


“It made no difference if you woke up in the morning or in the middle of the night, and stood at the window of any of the apartments that lined the perimeter of the World Trade Center in NYC. Each day seemed to repeat itself endlessly. In a sort of eternal echo, the presumption of patriarchal power attempted to win the battle against history. Many years after the attack, what came to be called Ground Zero remained immersed in frenzied activity. The greed of construction and development, the supreme will to build up strength and power, there where the only thing that should rise up is fragility and poetry. This is the key to getting into the work that Elena del Rivero has been carrying out for twenty years. A process that shapes The Archive of Dust and that can only be understood based on a personal and collective history, on a writing in time, revealing itself through a biography that demands a name and an essence from a position of anonymity. An action that feeds on the poetic and extols vulnerability” writes Imma Prieto regarding the exposition.


The main axis of the exhibition is A CHANT, the memorial installation produced by Elena del Rivero with the over 3,000 pieces of paper collected from the floors of her destroyed studio home, and related works that she has been completing overt the last 20 years, in particular the collages created with the salvaged pieces of paintings from her destroyed works during the attack. These collages will be seen in Palma for the very first time.

There will also be shown Nine Broken Letters, a work produced during nine consecutive sleepless nights while being displaced from her home at 125 Cedar Street and that were inspired by her reading Marina Tsvetáyeva’s Florentine Nights. The interests and methodologies that are part of her trajectory, such as the Letters from Home, will materialize as well in the Palma exhibition through the intervention on the Museum’s terraces where the artist will install Trapos de cocina (Kitchen towels) (2021), a work made in collaboration with citizenry.


The show organically structures and crystallizes the different phases of the project that emerged from the trauma of the attacks. In this way, it includes the drifts and reflections initiated in her first two installations [Swi:t] Home (2000-2001), at The Drawing Center in 2001, and [Swi:t] Home: A CHANT (2001-2006), installed for the first time at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington in 2008 and, for the second time, at the New Museum in New York in 2011. On this occasion, the installation will mark the twentieth anniversary of 9/11.

The proposal at Es Baluard Museu dinamically presents Elena del Rivero’s artistic and personal work and gives visibility to two independent and complementary lines of work: the first, which began around 9/11, points to loss, collective memory and pain, and the second, addresses personal issues that have to do with how our existential pillars are built, such as in her ongoing series Letters to the Mother (1990-2022).


Finally, the exhibition ponders on the historical, the collective and the personal while addressing, at the same time, our most immediate present. Therefore, it proposes an urgent and necessary reflection about the socio-political strategies that shape our contemporaneity for future generations.