Isabel de Laborde’s Kite Kits. A model to assemble. By Laura Isola, historian and art critic, and cultural journalist,
Recent Works by this Mexican French artist, with over 30 years of residence in Argentina, represent a series in a strict sense of the word. On one hand, they are pieces built with papers she paints, dyes, and engraves, using pigments, inks, and colors, to which she adds irregular frames made of balsa wood.
With that same material, she constructs figures attached to one another by magnets. This assembling: irregular frames and geometric figures, resemble latest innovations found in Argentinian geometric art , linking them as it were, to the Madí group, as a faint and contemporary approximation.
On the other hand, Laborde seeks within her own artistic production, artistic pieces on paper like the ones we now see, those linking her work with several disciplines at the same time. With Architecture for example, in the first stages of the project and the materials used: balsa wood and maquettes; with the inks, she has patiently produced during some years, and with sculptures, which represent an important part of her artistic endeavors.
It is there, in those intersections, that Laborde mutates from the geometric to the organic . There is a gesture of folding and unfolding both in the conception, as well as in the realization of her work. In this sense, the assembling of each of her pieces is randomly executed. And may be inter-changed. And rightly so, because she works within a zone that allows the intervention of the viewer: He or she becomes a participant, as in the good artistic tradition proposed by, for example, the Brazilian Neo- Concretism school.
But she also may be linked to literary experiments: Julio Cortazar and his most extreme text: 62 Model to Assemble, which, as we all may remember, starts in chapter 62 of that novel. But, as a difference, Cortazar challenges his readers, almost as if he would say: “Let us see who dares”. While Isabel, is sweet and seductive in her invitation. The various parts composing each Kite Kit induces us to play, to let ourselves be led by our imagination, without previously set directions.
What Isabel does have in common with the Argentine writer is the mixture and passages both of languages and landscapes: From French to Spanish, in its Latin American variations; from France to Buenos Aires and Patagonia, where, in turn, she alternates between the large urban setting and the great boundless outdoors . Her works imply these passages because they don´t suggest fragments, but rather show their suturing under a new unity without shedding any single meaning: The painter, the sculptor, the designer , the colorist. The woman artist that opens her artistic past , selects, combines anew, and falls in love again with her work.
Nevertheless, it seems as if she has taken off some weight from them. Or as if she has shed some weight from her shoulders. These works of hers proclaim a certain weightlessness. Isabel calls them kites. But we can also think of them as transparent wings of dragon flies, or butterflies, displaying designs and colors in their flight. What is certain, though, is that our fantasy takes off when we look upon these Kite Kits, for the artist offers us all the tools, all necessary elements, for us to become in turn, artists for a while.