Always curious and keen to explore and travel the world, Los Bravú have been involved in a series of artistic projects in Senegal, the Dominican Republic and Rome. «We really enjoy finding inspiration in new places,» says Dea Gómez. «We have our own particular style. We reinterpret classical painting, Renaissance, Baroque…». Consequently, their background is perfectly suited to the Artists in Residence programme, which invites national and international artists to do a work stay at Abadía Retuerta.
Dea and Diego, both graduates in Fine Arts from the University of Salamanca, form a solid and cohesive partnership. As a result, they have naturally pursued a multidisciplinary career in fields such as painting and sculpture, as well as comics and performance art.
Creativity on the banks of the Duero
Their time at Abadía Retuerta was so intense and fruitful that they not only completed the initial project but were also able to flesh out new ideas that they hope to develop in the future.
Their first visit was a two-day stay, where they familiarised themselves with the estate, learning about its different spaces and setting out the outlines of the project. They found the property’s contemporary works of art very interesting, but they paid special attention to the classical art collection.
They came across great sources of inspiration, such as the revived monks’ vegetable garden. «It was wonderful to have the opportunity to chat with Víctor Frechilla, who looks after it,» Dea explains enthusiastically. Birds are a recurring element in their creations, so they didn’t miss the opportunity to observe the ones that form part of the ecosystem at Abadía Retuerta. Most of all, however, they were fascinated by the abbey as an element of unity for the entire estate. They describe it as «the immovable stone on which everything revolves: the vines, the vegetable garden…, it remains there, both physically and temporally, unaffected by the passage of time.”
Ora et labora
Ultimately, their creative choice was a painting inspired by a small mid-16th century engraving decorating the stairs of the church. They worked intensively on this piece during the week of their residency.
Los Bravú confess they felt extremely at ease in Abadía Retuerta as they came across some elements that are very familiar to them. «A great deal of our work connects classical mythology and its interpretation in modern times. On this occasion we included Dionysus or Bacchus, which we have previously used as a symbol of earthly possessions. It was relevant here because this figure is related to wine and the way Christianity’s syncretism brings it into the ritual of drinking wine in the Eucharist. We also included an engraving of Christ, which was very appropriate because it appeared in the church piece that was our inspiration. It’s actually the first time we have a religious theme,» they point out.
After the many conversations they had with Victor in the vegetable garden, they decided to name their piece Ora et Labora. «Víctor told us that the monks’ routine in the abbey included meditation and work. Within the latter, it wasn’t just the actual work that counted, but also the enjoyment. The idea of creating something based on enjoyment really appealed to us,» explains Dea.
A haven of peace
Los Bravú take with them a fantastic experience at Abadía Retuerta, including an interesting bird collection that they hope to use in future projects, but also a state of mind. «We had time to escape from the routines of city life and to think, gaining inspiration for new projects. We also got to talk and walk a great deal; in fact, much of our work involves walking. The peaceful atmosphere really inspired us,» they explain.
So much so that they have announced their return, this time with a radically different creation: a stage work designed to be performed in the church, which they found fascinating.