It's Piñata Time by Eva Burton and Tabea Reulecke

Exhibition  /  04 Oct 2017  -  28 Oct 2017
Published: 19.09.2017
Amaranto Joies
Grego García

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Mixing and merging their different bodies of work to surprise us with their own intriguing version of a colourful multifarious piñata.

Artist list

Eva Burton, Tabea Reulecke
It’s Piñata Time! - A contemporary jewellery duo exhibition by Eva Burton and Tabea Reulecke

When Eva Burton and Tabea Reulecke met during their masters’ studies in Idar-Oberstein, Germany, it was friendship at first sight with their love for South America instantly giving them common ground. It’s no wonder that when the two artists organized the group exhibition “Into The Woods” in 2015, they chose Buenos Aires as the place for the event. The interdisciplinary project showed artworks of 11 artists from seven nationalities. For “It’s Piñata Time!” Eva and Tabea team up again for their first duo exhibition project in Gallery Amaranto, Barcelona. Both will be presenting their latest artworks, and once again, their love for Latin America’s culture, traditions and inhabitants is omnipresent.

The piñata game became a symbol for
colourful, happy and exuberant fiestas. But the piñata goes beyond innocent game playing as it has a long multi-faceted history. Supposedly first established in old China, it was Marco Polo who brought an early version of the piñata to southern Europe, where the custom was adapted for the celebration of lent. When the first missionaries were sent to South America, the Spanish invaders found that the indigenous people cultivated a very similar custom. The Aztecs filled decorated clay pots with gold and smashed them in tribute to their god Huitzilopochtli. The Maya charged their piñatas with cacao beans and developed a game for the ceremonies, where a player was blindfolded and tried to hit the vessel to reveal the offerings. The Protestant monks used this intersection of religious customs as an opportunity to evangelize the locals. The newly created piñata game served as instruction sessions, designed to infiltrate ideas of sin and guilt into the natives’ minds. The friars gave the clay pot a round shape with seven cones to symbolize Satan and his sins. The piñata game represented the Christian fight against evil, a fight which could only be won by blindly trusting in the Christian faith. The spilling contents of the destroyed container naturally depicted the metaphorical rewards of heaven.

For her final project in her Master of Fine Arts studies, Eva Burton investigated the characteristics of play using the example of the pre-Hispanic ball game in Mesoamerica, which had been performed since 1400 BC. The game had all the characteristics of a modern ball game: a ball court, two teams of players, specific rules, an
audience and judges, but the importance of the game lay in the ritual aspects of it. The game was considered to be sacred. The purpose of these events was to please the Gods and maintain the order of the heavenly bodies, but also to control the society by establishing a strict hierarchy. Eva’s recent body of works titled, “When Play Meets Ritual” was inspired by this notion of play as a tool to create order and balance. For this series, Eva constructed her own game with the field of jewellery as a playground and a set of self-imposed rules by which she plays that game. The materials she uses are mainly aluminum and stones. The techniques: casting the metal from hand shaped wax, grinding the stones and composing the pieces by connecting the materials. The aluminum elements have a blunt and spontaneous appearance. They almost look as if they’re shaped by the hands of children, who have played with modeling clay. The stones in the jewels pop out like tempting, colourful candy. However, these jewellery pieces also have a very thoughtfully composed expression to them. The compositions don’t mirror a child’s carelessness and inexperience, but the search of a humorous mind for harmony and rhythm. The elements connect as if they were dancing in a well-practiced choreography. As Eva writes in her master thesis: “Play is not the opposite of seriousness”, because in the act of playing, there is always a solution that has to be found, a lesson that wants to be learned or a tension that needs to be dissolved. Eva Burton’s jewellery pieces speak of these lessons as a way to understand and maybe embrace our reality.

For Tabea Reulecke, the old indigenous cultures like the Maya, the
Inca and the Aztecs were also of major interest when she traveled through Chile, Peru and Argentina. In Chile, however, it was mainly the countless street dogs which made her ponder, their number is estimated to about 2.5 million. In Tabea’s previous series, it becomes apparent that she is an animal-loving person and that the animal kingdom serves her as an infinite source of inspiration for her artworks. Tabea naturally felt empathy for these homeless creatures, as after thousands of years of domestication, they are no longer made for this kind of life. Moreover, she was fascinated by them. The street dogs proved to be extremely good natured, calm and socialized. As in Santiago, these dogs are accepted as communal dogs, and they are also taken care of up to a point. These creatures  “amused and enlightened” Tabea’s “ heart from the very beginning”, she describes, so much in fact, that she dedicated a whole body of work to them. Still in Chile, Tabea began to portray some of these furry encounters by drawing and folding the outlines of the dogs’ profiles in copper, first only the heads and later also the bodies. The result is a series of colourful enameled sculptures and rings, which will be presented in the exhibition, “It’s Piñata Time!” Tabea catches the distinct characteristics of her models whilst still creating an abstract unreal version of them. By this, Tabea transforms a few select individual dogs into icons, which can be construed as representatives for all street dogs that wander through the cities of this world. To quote “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: “…But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for who you have tamed…”

The piñata game as we know it today is a hotchpotch of customs which different cultures performed for different purposes in different ages. What all these customs had in common was the moment of excitement when the piñata was broken and revealed its treasures. For the exhibition, “It’s Piñata Time!” Eva Burton and Tabea Reulecke mix and merge their different bodies of works to surprise us with their own intriguing version of a
colourful multifarious piñata.
/ Carina Shoshtary
Eva Burton. Necklace: Huentli con rubipiruleta, 2017. Anodized aluminium, syntetic  ruby, silver, patina. . Eva Burton
Necklace: Huentli con rubipiruleta, 2017
Anodized aluminium, syntetic  ruby, silver, patina. 
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Eva Burton. Earrings: Stone Candies, 2017. Anodized aluminium, agate, silver, patina.. Eva Burton
Earrings: Stone Candies, 2017
Anodized aluminium, agate, silver, patina.
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Tabea Reulecke. Sculpture: Candilla, 2016. Copper, enamel, silver, leather.. 12 x 17 x 5 cm. Tabea Reulecke
Sculpture: Candilla, 2016
Copper, enamel, silver, leather.
12 x 17 x 5 cm
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Tabea Reulecke. Ring: Quiltro, 2016. Copper, enamel, gold platted.. Tabea Reulecke
Ring: Quiltro, 2016
Copper, enamel, gold platted.
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