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Painting (MA)

Carolina Aguirre

Carolina Aguirre (b.1990, Chile) is an Argentinean artist based in London. 

Having lived in Chile, South Africa, and Egypt, she attended UWC Atlantic, graduated with a BA (Hons) Graphic Design (1st) from UAL: Central Saint Martins and worked in the film industry before transitioning into an interdisciplinary art practice. She is a recipient of the Ali H. Alkazzi Scholarship Award (2021-2023) and the 2022 Kyoto City University of the Arts exchange programme. She has exhibited internationally, a recent highlight being her duo-show Ghost Notes at Fold Gallery, London.

She is currently exhibiting sculptural works at Soft Monuments, Frestonian Gallery (until 05/08/23) and a painting at the Summer Exhibition (in Gallery III), Royal Academy of Arts (until 20/08/23), both in London.

Upcoming projects for 2024 include a solo installation at Lismore Castle Arts, Ireland, and solo presentations with Paulina Caspari, Munich and Ruttowski;68, Cologne. Dates TBA.

Degree Details

School of Arts & HumanitiesPainting (MA)RCA2023 at Truman Brewery

Truman Brewery, F Block, Ground, first and second floors

portrait of artist against one of her paintings

Carolina Aguirre’s mythopoetic works question the experience of belonging as it relates to location, nature, and otherness. Belonging is chosen as an embodied and emotional access point to wider themes of environmentalism and identity politics resulting from mobility. The interdisciplinary practice incorporates painting, video, sculpture and performance and is guided by materiality, spirituality, and tenderness.


Long Read:

The painting process, which forms the foundation of the practice, feels both archeological and psychoanalytical. It starts with covering the wooden panels in ink, and then carefully washing layers to unearth interlocking or fusing masses. The resulting landscapes allude to land as seen from a flight home, browsed longingly on google maps, or studied up close on a rock. This is also how migrating birds, Gods, insects and ancestors see our world.  

The textures, which feel geological, biological and at times almost glitchy, are achieved through attention to material; the mineral sheen of Sumi ink, the sticky, bodily gloss of shellac (made from the female Lac beetle), the smokiness of charcoal and the chalkiness of Gofun (made from crushed up seashells). Painting on the floor is key as it provides an aerial, unfixed view, with the final orientation of the painting often settling quite late in the process, only once human narratives (mythical, layered and ambiguous) are fully woven into the landscape.

The latest series of sculptures/installations address waste as fertile material through its physical and metaphorical potential. Domestic debris is compacted into circular time-capsules and sealed with tinted paper pulp. They are reminiscent of fossils or coals, which can be reimagined (and reused) into different forms. In this way, the past is cared for and welcomed back to interact with the present, creating space for alternative understandings and healing. Other materials incorporated into these narratives include human ashes, hair, and live plants.

Writing, soundscape, video, and performance act as primary research for, accompany and /or activate the physical work; these incorporate field-recordings, music, phone-calls, active imagination and spoken word. 

close up of sculpture, same size as and looks like tree made of small textured rings, black brown beige white green
Amor Fati Household waste, recycled paper pulp, sumi ink, gofun, steel, hessian, 305 x 85 x 40 cm
wide of sculpture, floor to ceiling looks like tree but branches join again, made of stacked rings and bare metal
painting, snake/ouroboros going through a female form, white black red browns
Come ThroughSumi ink, charcoal, natural pigments on wood, 92 x 152 cm
painting, two land masses tearing apart, between abstraction and figuration, earthy black orange white
Continental DriftSumi ink, charcoal, natural pigments on wood, 254 x 180 cm
close up of 'continental drift'; face/mountain in blacks orange yellows white
Continental Drift (details)
close up continental drift, abstract geological texture white browns orange blacks
Sculpture, stack of textured paper pulp rings brown black white
Time Stack 1Household waste, recycled paper pulp, sumi ink, gofun, 80 x 30 x 20cm
sculpture texture paper pulp rings, dusted white, hung on canvas ribbon
Cured TimeHousehold waste, recycled paper pulp, sumi ink, gofun, canvas, 60 x 30 x 30cm
3 portrait paintings, dark in mood, blurred
UntitledSumi ink, shellac, charcoal on wood, 30 x 30cm (each). Ongoing portrait series, these three of anti-immigration protesters
painting, psychological landscape, semi abstract, woman sleeping with blurry figures around
Common GroundSumi ink, charcoal, natural pigments on wood, 92 x 152 cm
black ring sculpture, organic textured surface, glass baubles holding hair, earth and ashes, live plant on top
Route to Root (ii)Human ashes, hair, domestic waste, live plant, soil, glass, paper pulp, ink, 91x87x20 cm
close up interior ring, detail of glass baubles holding soil and ashes with strands of human hairRoute to Root (ii) (details)
(details) abuelita's ashes and my hair
close up inside bauble, clearly see human ashes looks like coral and brown strands of hair
This Foreign HomeThree channel video, 5min 17s
Ghost Notes AudioSoundscape to 'Ghost Notes' show at Fold Gallery with field recordings, whatsapp calls, and original music, 5min30s

Ali H. Alkazzi Scholarship Award