“Let it be modern, modern.” Birgitte Nyborg, the new Danish prime minister in the Borgen series, does not have time to attend to the director of the national museum or to choose the paintings that will decorate her office. The director’s choice is, as revenge, so horrifying that the director is called away.

This comes from the fact that Teresa Lanceta, the creator who has worked on textile art for half a century without giving up, who has just received the National Prize for Plastic Arts and who is offering an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Céret (France ), has a work exhibited in Pedro Sánchez’s office.

When reminded of just that, the artist who has exhibited all over the world, and who has successfully defended the value of textile art as contemporary, popular and avant-garde, cannot help but smile. “That story has caused quite a stir. The Reina Sofía bought it for me in Arco in 1995 when I was starting with those compositions and the truth is I felt very insecure, that maybe it was not the painting or the best moment,” she says on the phone.

The price? “The money I received was ridiculous (I don’t want to say the figure, but it was less than a thousand euros. I say this so that people don’t think I’m swimming in oil (laughs). The painting spent years sleeping in the museum, in the reservation and one day they called me from Moncloa and a man asked me how they should hang him. And I said ‘no, no, put another one’ and they told me that he had passed a very strict selection. as best it would fit in the room because I never thought that it had to have a specific orientation.”

Lancet is in fashion. For the prize, for the Macba exhibition from two years ago, because he is participating in a collective that will end at the MoMA without forgetting the Céret exhibition, which Magazine tastes in situ. “Half of the works have never been shown before, some come from the artist’s sister’s living room and had not been seen before, there is an intimacy that is revealed to the public,” director Jean-Roch Dumont Saint Priest confirms during the visit. , just 29 years old, 6 years younger than French Prime Minister Attal.

“Teresa has never followed any fashion, perhaps that is why they gave her the National Award. We are proud that her rugs, jarapas and her drawings are among our walls, it was very easy to work with her because she was very interested in the history of the museum, of the territory.”

The exhibition must be seen because the pieces have two sides, many knots, different textures and as the artist made clear to the Heritage official, they can be hung in many ways. The exhibition opens exhibition paths, it is intense, playful and fun, it invites you to breathe deeply and laugh widely.

“The exhibition is different from the one at Macba, which was anthological. This one isn’t that big, but I was very surprised at how they put it together. There is one piece, a tapestry from the Middle Atlas that has been exhibited in a lot of places in different ways. I have always had very good luck in that sense and I have never had to rectify anything about it.”

Lanceta cites the Atlas medium, a key territory for his professional development. “The discovery, the exploration of Moroccan weavers is an important influence for her, because it is a living, universal, popular art… something that at the same time has been a barrier to entering certain artistic circuits, when sometimes it is forgotten that the avant-garde At the beginning of the 20th century they paid a lot of attention to it,” recalls Dumont.

Indeed, behind the achievements and current recognition of Lanceta’s work there are tons of criticism and reproaches of his work, considered by critics, for decades, as minor and unworthy of being shown in the great temples of art. Classism and misogyny plan in these attacks. “Now there is more respect for textile art,” confirms the artist, who also exhibits in Dallas and in the Herreriano patio in Valladolid. There is much more attention. The borders of art are falling or are more permeable.

But I’m not going to say that I’m going to complain that before we weren’t given as much attention… Although I have received a lot of criticism and rejection, because I have been working in this for 50 years, but there is more focus. That I felt bad because they rejected me? No, because there are many people, many artists, who are worse than me,” he emphasizes.

Lanceta does not forget the first ones who helped him: “there have been very hard years, but Bignia Kuoni helped me from the beginning, who was a very important scholar who died very young. Then, coincidentally, I was able to exhibit at the Museu del Tèxtil de Barcelona and then at the Reina Sofía. “The people who were against my exhibiting at the Reina Sofía with the Moroccan carpets.”

But why? “They believed that I should go to an ethnological museum, they considered that the Moroccan pieces were not enough… but they came from the Louvre, from very important museums and, most importantly, they connected with Picasso’s Guernica.”

And when they saw your work in Sánchez’s office? “Well, a lot of people started to criticize me, to say that I was bad (laughs). If I had had the choice, I would have posted a photo of Esther Ferrer with a cauliflower on her head.”

In Céret, the exhibition is presented as a walk, an excursion, pieces on the wall or forming a circuit in the middle of the room. The textile work is accompanied by meticulous drawings and ceramic pieces. The architectural and lighting generosity of the museum’s new wing also helps.

“The tapestries have almost always been displayed in line, although away from the wall. Here they are totally disordered or like a maze. Not the final room, but accompanied by cushions. Something I liked. As far as I remember, both at the Sao Paulo Biennial and at Azkuna Zentroa there was a lot of space between the pieces and here I had that feeling of a labyrinth, which reminded me of a playground, like when I was little, where you don’t see everything, but yes fragments. The montage had charm, I thought it was great.”

Director Dumont points out small details in the pieces that are like old world maps but with elements full of symbolism and nods to great artists: “The pieces have rhythm, knots, imperfections… some are a mixture of fabric and sewing to talk about memory, of the violence of history… of the Civil War, of the victims. There is always a lot of intention in his works, a lot of depth… and a lot of topicality because it could explain today’s war scenes,” says the director of the Céret museum.

“There are pieces,” he adds, “of large format, with geometric motifs, tributes to Mondrian, to Barnett Newman, yellow and red, or an anti Fontana, in which he cuts the fabric and sews it on both sides, cures them, scars them. . There are colorful nods to Odilon Redon and the Soviet Rayonists (Larionov and Goncharova), to Holbein, to the Amazigh tradition and, of course, to Paul Klee, whom he adores.”

“Knows? She hasn’t done badly for me,” summarizes Teresa Lanceta. But she knows that without talent and perseverance she would not be on the phone, “The majority of us who dedicate ourselves to this are women, who entered art in the seventies with other tools, because we wanted to say other things, like Ana Mendieta, for example, that he no longer went with the brush, but with the body. If I have had to face those who rejected me, it is because I have always defended a popular art.

“When I started weaving I saw a whole language. When I started in the seventies, I didn’t like what I was doing either, because Grau Garriga, Aurelia Muñoz were already there… I wanted to occupy another space, but it was a time when they wanted to break with everything, destroy the painting… the only proactive ones were the women of that time, they didn’t go against anything,” she remembers.

“There are many elements – says Dumont Saint Priest – that have come together so that textile art has more consideration in the contemporary scene. It is a medium used mostly by women, there is also an approach to the dichotomy between art and crafts. They are regulars at the Tate Modern in London, with Magdalena Abakanowicz, Rosemarie Tröckel, Louise Bourgeois… it is a movement that continues to mix sewing, collage, patchwork and that approaches conceptual art.”

Has that ‘Pedro Sánchez office’ effect been good for you? “That’s fine, but if you shouldn’t have thought about the work for even a second, I doubt it. But if you don’t have time, you shouldn’t even know my name. I am neither a socialist, nor do I relate to them. When it came out there was only one good review in the press.” To put it into the record, the author works at La Vanguardia. “Thank him for me, please.”