Francisco Berlanga’s work approaches weaving and textiles as a metaphor for culture making. He describes memories as threads, “moments spun together to create some form of continuity.” Working from motifs inspired by the versatility of the inconsistencies of fibrous materials used in making serapes and childhood family picnics, Berlanga weaves together culture and memory through the materiality of a combination of live plants and commonly found construction material. In this work, the laborious process of weaving live grasses explores his identity as something that is rooted, but gives way to the challenges of formulating a cohesive but imperfect whole. These works invite the audience to think through time, of the weavings as maze-like in their pattern and process and embedding them within an installation of casually draped domestic textile and stone pavers of in-process and impromptu construction wherein visitors may be themselves threads within the work.
Francisco Berlanga is a contemporary textile artist who studied at Simon Fraser University. He obtained his BFA in Visual Arts and he is currently working towards completing his MFA at UBC. His practice is based on questioning identity, particularly his connection with his own Mexican culture and how one can inhabit a culture while being partially absent from it. He engages in discourse with his own identity through the creation of traditional Mexican “manualidades” that often take the form of textile works; weaving has become essential to his practice. His work makes connections between traditional Mexican aesthetics and contemporary visual language. His practice engages with concepts of inaccessibility and the role memory and language can play when someone is distanced from their own culture. He
attempts to bridge the gaps between his personal and cultural identities by forcing connections between them and trying to understand the limitations that these identities impose upon each other. Francisco was also a founding member of Withintensions, a monthly Vancouver-based artists magazine, and he is currently artistic director for the magazine. His goal through the publication is to cultivate an accessible space for art theory that engages local arts communities through publication.
Click play on the video below to explore a 360° tour of the exhibition:
Image: While The Wefts Were Woven by Francisco Berlanga (2020-2021). Grass, sisal fibre. Image courtesy of the artist.