Call LABjoven_Los Bragales: rummaging through history

The initiative LABjoven_Los Bragales takes the spirit of a former call that existed during six years between 2007 and 2012. That initiative, under the title LABjoven_experimenta, gave several emerging artists the opportunity to carry out an experimental artistic project. Here we remember two of the former winners: Alicia Jiménez and Cristina Busto.

Published: Sep 14, 2015
Call LABjoven_Los Bragales: rummaging through history

Alicia Jiménez working in her project `En Barbecho´

By Naiara Valdano, Art Gossips, @art_gossips

At the beginning of this year LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial presented, in partnership with Colección Los Bragales, a production grant addressed to Asturian artists under 40. The call LABjoven_Los Bragales was open several months and received many proposals from all around the region. However, the prize was awarded to the project Menhir, designed by the Asturian artist Coco Moya and the musician from Cuenca Iván Cebrián. A colleague at LABlog, Semíramis González, offered a very good summary of this work a few weeks ago in her article “Menhir moves the mine to exhibition hall", a text you should read (click HERE).

But, when was this call born? With a new name this year, LABjoven_LosBragales takes the spirit of a former call that existed between 2007 and 2012. This call gave several emerging artists the opportunity to carry out a experimental artistic project to be showcased at Centro Asturiano during several months. This text is aimed at remembering and recovering two former winners of this call. This is a way to remember, honour and celebrate their works.

Alicia Jiménez: Art as a living process

First, I would like to speak about Alicia Jiménez (Gijón, 1977), D DDD plastic artist and visual artist working in the field of installations and interventions. She won the production grant of LABoral in 2009 with En Barbecho, a project that consisted of introducing a planting field inside the Asturian institution.

After some months of work she met her goal and divided the field into two different zones: A fertile zone where seeds were planted and another occupied zone where the land was left to rest. She also planted small video screens along the grooves showing images that confronted the values associated with productivity with others commonly associated with resting, waiting and the lack of productivity. With this she wanted to show “a metaphor of the current society” and reflect upon the existing conflict between work and leisure time: “The title En Barbecho (fallow land) invites us to reflect upon – according to Jiménez–our own life rhythms, what is the time to rest and what is the time to produce and how should we keep the balance between both” (1).


En Barbecho
© Alicia Jiménez

I can say that one of the things I most about this project was that it was open for participation of the public: Viewers were invited to plant seeds, care for the plants and watch their shoots and buds. At the end of the exhibition the artist even invited the public to take home part of the fertile land so that the project could continue outside the museum. Thus the installation became a living work, a project in continuous growth and evolution that kept on growing even after closing the exhibition.

This work is therefore a clear example of the personal and intimate philosophy of the artist: Jiménez understands art as a living process, an open experience, an action in movement. For her art is the way rather than the finish line. She enjoys the artistic process more than the object itself….and she probably made many viewers enjoy this process as well with En Barbecho.

Cristina Busto: The pleasure of shadows

The second person I want to speak about is Cristina Busto (Avilés, 1976), an artist known in particular for trying to merge video and plastic arts. Like Jiménez, she also enjoyed a production grant at LABoral in 2011 thanks to a project called Generadores de sombras.

With this work the young Asturian artist created a film set within the exhibition hall with the purpose of making a live-video piece. She used a set of very interesting elements: On the one hand, she used materials found in various circumstances that she recycled giving them a new function; On the other hand, she used rear-projection screens in an attempt to show, with lights and shadows, the silhouettes of those recycled materials. With all these pieces the young artist was able to make her dreams, fantasies and illusions come alive in the museum and show the public the importance of the creative process on-site.

Generadores de sombras

Generadores de sombras
© Cristina Busto

However, a part from showing viewers this process, what else did young artista want to show with this project? Busto answered this question with two interesting theories. On the one hand, she wanted to “shape the idea that light and shadows are indivisible concepts that could not exist on their own, and therefore complement each other regardless if one is positive and the other is negative. As matters stand, this is an optimistic message” (2). On the other hand, she adds that the work is based to some extent on the theories of the psychologist Carl Gustav Jung, who stated that our shadow was what we projected outside our being, what we discarded of ourselves: “I think that, on occasions, people is able to take out of our body this shadow, this aggressive or negative part that we have. But we need to be aware that, even if it is part of ourselves, we must be able to have the positive part prevail” (3).

Which theory do you choose? I probably choose the first one: I like the rather romantic idea that two seemingly opposed worlds live together in balance and harmony.

As you can see I am presenting you two works that are worth remembering because they were able to enrich the museum during two months and show that, often, the artistic process is as important (or even more) than the the final object. What do you think of these projects?


(1). Interview with the artist at the TV show “La mañana en Asturias” (Radio Cope, March 9, 2010). Audio available at:

(2). Miguel Rojo, “LABoral Centro de Arte abre sus puertas a las penumbras” (El Comercio, May 30, 2012). Article available en:

(3). Idem.

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