Elena López Riera is a visual artist and filmmaker from Spain, holding a PhD in Audiovisual Communication. In 2008 she moved to Switzerland, where she teaches cinema and comparative literature at Geneva University. Elena López Riera is also a co-founder of lacasinegra, an artists’ collective dedicated to research and experimentation with new audiovisual devices. Her first short film, Pueblo premiered at the Directors’ Fortnight of Cannes Film festival in 2015 and was selected for more than 20 international festivals. In 2016 her film Las vísceras was selected for the Locarno Film Festival and received the Mikeldi Silver Award at Zinebi Film Festival. Her latest film, Los que desean, nominated for the European Film Awards, won the pardino d’oro at Locarno Film Festival in 2018. La cinémathèque française (Paris), Colombian cineteca (Bogotá) & Gijon International Film Festival (Spain) have consacred retrospectives on her work. Her films have been screened at prestigious international film festivals such as: Toronto, San Sebastián, Zagreb, Cinéma du réel, Vila do Conde, Leuven, Mecal, Curtocircuito, Filmadrid, Hiroshima, Rio de Janeiro, Cali, Rekjiavik, Lincoln Center in New York. Los que desean video-installation participated at Moma PS1 Museum as a part of its spring open house exhibition (March-May 2019, New York USA). She participated in the first international film seminar of the Tabakalera Art Center, at the Berlinale Talent Campus, as well as the Ikusmira Berriak residency program of the San Sebastián Film Festival, the Arché lab of Doc Lisboa festival and at the prestigious Cinéfondation residence of the Cannes film festival. In 2019 she had her first solo exhibition at Domium Art Center in Salamanca (Spain). She also has worked as a programmer for film festivals such as Entrevues Belfort (France), Sevilla European Film Festival (Spain) and Visions du réel (Switzerland), where she has been a member of the selection committee since 2017. She teaches cinema HEAD (Geneva Haute École d’Art et Design)
My artistic project focuses on the study of rituals as a socio-political practice, examining the ideas of transmission, repetition and public performance. Through film, video installation, performance or essay, my work interrogates the ways in which new generations question the transmitted cultural heritage, as well as the ways in which individual actions represent the collective consciousness. Based on this premise, my practice is based on the research of the cohabitation between the ancestral and the contemporary, between the individual and the collective movements. My work focuses on the question of gender as performance, repetition and cultural theatricalization, as defined by Judith Butler. From this perspective, my artistic practice concentrates mainly on the analysis of gesture as a technology of repetition, capable of (re) producing patterns of perpetuating a patriarchal structure.
The observation of collective rituals (understood in its broadest sense) as religious, sporting or social rituals, allows me to analyse the performative elements of social practice in order to question their naturalism and underline their artificial, constructed dimension. Gesture, repetition, the perpetuation of a practice or an idea, the notion of irrational trance are constant elements of my work, which allow me to articulate documentary observation with the fantastic dimension of everyday life, thus challenging traditional anthropological representations.
The principal purpose of my artistic practice is to transgress the boundaries between learned, transmitted and repeated notions, such as masculine and feminine, belief and skepticism, reality and fantasy, documentary and fiction, through moving images.