Teresa Lanceta Weaves the Fraught History of Spain

Featured image: Installation view of Teresa Lanceta: El sueño de la cólcedra (photo courtesy Museo Patio Herreriano de Arte Contemporáneo Español)

VALLADOLID, Spain — In Teresa Lanceta’s weavings, the cyclical nature of human history is translated into warps and wefts. The Spanish artist and historian has produced conceptually and materially rigorous textile works since the 1970s that frame weaving not just as an artisanal technique, but as a pivotal cultural and political practice with far-reaching consequences. El sueño de la cólcedra, her solo exhibition at the Museo Patio Herreriano de Arte Contemporáneo Español, is a lyrical, site-specific investigation into the ways that textiles shaped Spain during the 13th and 14th centuries, a time when the Iberian Peninsula was a rich but embattled home to Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities.

Lanceta has a unique context for this ongoing project, which she began in 2022: The museum is located in a former monastery, and the chapel where her work is installed — previously known as the Capilla de los Condes de Fuensaldaña — was itself a burial place during the 14th century. The exhibition’s title, translating as “The dream of the quilt,” references a funerary textile that the Castilian King Alfonso VIII was buried with when he died in 1214 in Burgos. The piece is one of several important historical textiles that Lanceta researched and reinterpreted from the pivotal turning point in Spanish history when the northern Christian kingdoms began their “Reconquista” against the Muslim forces that had ruled much of the peninsula for centuries. Another is the Pendón de las Navas de Tolosa, a famous textile said to have been taken as loot by Alfonso VIII after he won a major battle against the Almohad leader Muhammad al-Nasir. Elements from the Pendón’s original design are incorporated into a series of colored pencil drawings in which Lanceta has superimposed illustrations of injured soldiers with severed limbs.

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