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Noemi Iglesias Barrios

Bling Bling Romance

Valencia Open

September 2022

Kate Millet wrote in 1984 thatLove has been the opium of women. while we loveácome on, they ruled. This type of love, romantic, continues today to be a collective utopia and an entanglement for women. The industry of romanticism immerses us in dependency structures based on very specific roles that unite economic and love activities in rituals of love, marriage, white dresses and red roses.

They are highly effective mythologized and idealized structures that perpetuate an unequal system in which health, and more specifically, the mental health of women, is largely conditioned by a culture of love that promotes a romantic ideal of unrealistic expectations. The influence of love in this individualization process represents an ideology where emotional conceptions overlap with the world of clichés, immersing us in dependency relationships where one has power and resources and the other the gift of sacrifice, service and dedication.

Simultaneously, the therapeutic discourse and the story of suffering have been strongly consolidated in our Western society, fostering a value system where the construction of women's identity does not revolve around the knowledge of their own emotions, needs or interests, but in the discovery of the needs of others and the satisfaction of them. This attachment to affective power leads us to establish a type of intimate relationship that generally leads to emotional failure and frustration, confusing a realistic affective state with the idealization of falling in love.

Using the rose as one of the elements associated with love discourse and converted into a product of affective relationships by the romantic industry, a garden setting is proposed with a perfect, meticulous, almost unreal finish that allows opening a new perspective from which to rethink and question the establishment of romanticism in our western society. The objective of the installation is to offer an atmosphere that invites the viewer to have an attentive attitude to perceive what is not found in the external appearance, but in the nature of things or in the substance of people.


Noemi Iglesias Barrios


In the small agricultural district of Halfeti, on the east bank of the Euphrates River, grows one of the most unusual roses in the world, characterized by its dark, almost black color. The characteristics of the soil make what seems impossible: the possibility that a rose is naturally black. From Turkey to Spain, these flowers have inspired the work of Noemí Iglesias Barrios to develop an expanded sculptural project that goes beyond the limits of the technique itself and the very meaning of what is represented. The rose here is something far beyond the obvious and, as the saying goes, all that glitters is not gold.

In 1985, the art critic Rosalind Krauss conceptualized this new way of breaking the scheme of the monument in pursuit of a sculpture that appeared dislocated, far from a specific place and, above all, that was self-referential. It has rained a lot in those 80s but the truth is that the very expansion of sculpture has led it to its ontology as its own entity and as an installation, surpassing its own limits. This is how we see it in this work by Noemí Iglesias Barrios, where the display in the room highlights the mere fact of sculpture, although it does not stick to a simple installation either.

En cuanto al contenido, resultan fundamentales obras como esta que pongan en jaque la visión unívoca del amor y que hagan patentes sus estrategias de ocultamiento, especialmente cuando este ha sido construido desde un prisma político preciso. Como apunta con buen tino la escritora Coral Herrera, “nuestra forma de construir el amor romántico tiene que ver con la forma en la que nos organizamos social, económica y políticamente. Lo romántico es político, y por ello, se construye a través de la ideología de ese momento. En la actualidad a través del capitalismo y del patriarcado”. Esta idea del amor (de la que a menudo olvidamos su contingencia) se cimienta a través de unos mitos románticos afianzados por el hecho cultural, que los perpetúa. La música, el cine, la literatura, las series de televisión y, por supuesto, el arte, han contribuido a esta construcción. Noemí Iglesias Barrios ya había abordado este cuestionamiento a los mecanismos aparentemente inocentes del amor y las relaciones en distintos proyectos, y profundiza aquí en la dimensión plástica que este amor romántico puede tener. Si las rosas negras de Halfeti son, contra todo pronóstico, negras de manera natural, la excepción en este caso no confirma la regla. Como vemos en la exposición, casi siempre lo aparentemente ostentoso se revela falso en sus capas inmediatamente siguientes.

Semiramis González