Lara is a multi-disciplinary artist working across paper, print, ceramics, and glass. Born in Argentina but raised in London, her practice is concerned with the feeling of home and how this sensation is constructed through motifs and symbols.
Having moved several times over the past two years, her papercut practice was born from a need for transportability. Using just paper and a scalpel, these simple materials provided endless possibilities. Initially small, portable papercuts, Lara’s three-month residency at TYPA allowed this practice to grow rapidly in new directions. Having access to a studio space and a variety of materials meant the creation of large-scale papercuts and eventually, their cyanotype counterparts.
Inspired by Tartu’s decorative windows and the nostalgic net curtains within them, she considered her own relationship to home and home-making; an act of seeking the familiar within the new and thus creating an uncanny parallel world of home motifs.
Whilst at Typa, Lara was able to explore linocut, etching, letterpress, papermaking and cyanotype as well as delivering a ‘printing with plants’ workshop for the public.
Her residency culminated in a series of works she calls Shadow Workings which were exhibited at Armastuse Saal, Aparaaditehas. These papercut works and their cyanotype siblings encapsulate the motifs she collected over her time in Tartu, a place she grew to consider ‘a home away from home away from home away from home’.
Shadow Workings charts Lara’s navigation of her experience with home as an in-between, liminal place. A multi-disciplinary artist, Lara has arrived at shadows as a visual articulation of this ungraspable relationship, a sense of place that is as much distant as it is present. As the shadow of a tree drapes softly over a building, transforms it, becomes it; these separate entities merge whilst remaining apart.
‘…there is something immigrant about the air I breathe, the water I drink, the carbon in my bones, and the thoughts in my mind’ (Jenny Odell)
Lara’s papercuts reflect the movement of their maker and the migration that preceded her. Verging on abstraction, they transform the landscapes they are in and reframe them for the looker. They imprint shadows, dream-like tableaus to intercept any given surrounding. To make these dream sequences is to try to capture the ungraspable home. Physically, the shadows cause the imagined to meet the understood patterns of reality.
Cyanotype is an evolution of the shadow play, a way to harness the shadows the papercuts create. The results are physical, tangible, almost ghost-like versions of Lara’s original cuttings.
‘The play of shadows is more than an optical matter. It speaks to our vision of the self, to our constant labour of identity-making. Shadows are transformative presences that allow us to discover the other side of ourselves. They are the membrane that separates us from the world of darkness. Separating day and night, blackness and light, they offer a renewed way of looking at the world’ (Paolo S.H Favero)