SCAN Project Room: Atavic Memory

A collective exhibition curated by Sara Torres and Regina Pérez Castillo showcased in the Spanish Contemporary Art Network Project Space (London) from January…

“I mean, (…), that in the man of our days, there surreptitiously hides a nostalgia, an elegy, of the man of the seventh day of creation. The justification for the latter lies not only in that “malaise of culture” that grips us today, nor in that rejection of the “civilization of consumption” (…), but in that cry prior to the melody – prehistory of all melody – with which the most truthful part of humanity today, youth, tries to identify itself, in any of its ailments, not only the musicalities”.*

Atavic Memory will show at SCAN (the Spanish Contemporary Art Network) Project Space from 10th January.

Atavic Memory

SCAN is pleased to announce the opening of ATAVIC MEMORY, a project curated by Sara Torres and Regina Pérez for the SCAN Project Room with works by Álvaro Albaladejo, Cristina Ramírez, Moreno & Grau, Alegría YPiñero and Fran Pérez Rus.

Nature and its Laws

In an increasingly urban society, blinded by the needs and problems of living in the big city and increasingly far from the natural environment – and from our original home (The Earth) – there arises in the community a longing and intense nostalgia to be in communion again with the original nature and its laws.

Introspective Journey

The need to make an introspective journey to the human condition and its ancestral origins is very present in a new generation of Spanish artists, creators who take the atavistic as the starting point for their artistic work.


To look back at the original nature and the ideas, ways of life and materials of our ancestors leads to the emergence of an atavistic memory that takes us back to our historical predecessors and their way of understanding existence. Since the origins of art, artists have turned to nature, either to look for the supports and materials (earth, minerals, plants…) or because art has found in nature the most important source of inspiration for representation (ritual, sacred, symbolic, conceptual, among others).

Artists participating in Atavic Memory include Alegría YPiñero, Álvaro Albaladejo, Cristina Ramírez, Fran Pérez Pérez and Moreno & Grau.


In the different works of the artists participating in this exhibition – Álvaro Albaladejo, Cristina Ramírez, Moreno & Grau, Alegría YPiñero and Fran Pérez Rus – we observe how this archaic essence has become the thematic and spiritual centre. The pointy cusp of the ‘Aguja’ (2018) by Álvaro Albaladejo from Granada crosses us with its multiple symbolic senses. On the one hand, it transports us to a natural landscape, perhaps of mountain peaks, and on the other, it reminds us of the primitive materials created by the first man. The technique of this sculpture, carbonized beech, speaks to us of the use of certain natural resources (wood or fire) with the aim of obtaining those primitive tools that sustained human survival.

Fire is also the protagonist in the photographic work of Moreno and Grau, who go further, approaching the world of opposites in nature: the cave is a concave space, it is home; the mountain presents a convex profile, a landscape to explore. His work always finds in the natural environment the precise metaphors to talk about the concepts at odds, which are also the origin of the understanding of the universe for the human being (the feminine and the masculine, rain and fire, the Sun and the Moon).

Cristina Ramírez’s work also gravitates – in these three pieces, Cristina explores the cycles of life and death and how they intertwine to generate an infinite circuit. The artistic team Alegría YPiñero, however, delves into the field of experimental sound. In this exhibition they present a fragment of their ‘Vocal Spectrum’, a set of 8 pieces made of wood, cane and virgin wax that, when blown, reproduce vowel sounds of a primitive nature. Although the sound emitted by these trumpets made of natural materials refers to the most basic components of human language, the vowel, its vibration makes it confuse with the roar of an animal. The gadgets designed by Alegría YPiñero are very elemental, perhaps that is why the sound they produce is also very elemental. All these symbols (fire, wood, the cave,

Atavic Memory will run until 15th February 2019.

the mountain, the first human grunts…) are an imprint that despite the passage of time is not diluted, because it is part of our origin as human beings, we could even say that this is projected into the future. This is shown in the work of by Fran Pérez Rus, who digitally recreates the image of a tree in flames. This piece, which is an evident ecologist proclamation, speaks to us of a dystopian futuristic panorama in which the only natural trick we have left are the different virtual recreations that the humans have carried out, a way of keeping alive that atavistic memory to which, despite the circumstances, we will continue united.


The exhibition opens on January 10th 2019 at 18:30 at:-

SCAN Project Room, 13-19 Herald Street, London E2 6JT, Bethnal Green Tube Station

Premise:  ‘Atavistic’ comes from the Latin term atavus, meaning ‘ancestor’.

* José María Moreno Galván, Joan Miró and his Prehistoric World; Triumph, 1968, p30.


[Credits:  Feature image – by Fran Perez Rus (SCAN);; piece by SCAN Press Office]


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