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Mercedes Azpilicueta, Research on New Spain's colonial fashion in preparation for the exhibition at Gasworks, 2021. Courtesy of the artist

Exhibiting artist Mercedes Azpilicueta presents a panel discussion with researchers at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). The podcast features contributions from Catalina de Erauso expert and literary historian Amaia Alvarez-Uria, archaeologist Sergio Escribano-Ruiz, and art historian Haizea Barcenilla.

The podcast discusses Erauso as a contested figure that resists categorisation across various axes, including those of sex/gender, empire/coloniality, and questions of authorship. The podcast examines epistemological problems underpinning the construction of history, and how these are reflected in Azpilicueta’s work.

This event accompanies Mercedes Azpilicueta's exhibition Bondage of Passions, which offers a speculative vision of Catalina de Erauso, the so-called Lieutenant Nun. In the early 1600s, Erauso escaped convent life and became a ruthless conquistador at the service of the Spanish Empire, obtaining the Pope’s blessing to pursue life as a man.

A transcription of this talk is available in the resources section below.



Amaia Alvarez-Uria is a literary historian in the Department of Didactics of Language and Literature at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). With a focus on gender, her PhD dissertation revolves around the historical figure of Catalina de Erauso. As a member of the Research Group IKHEZI, she has participated in educational projects in France, Italy or Cuba, acting as a visiting scholar. These projects dealt with questions such as performing arts and oral improvisation from a gender perspective. She is the author of academic articles and book chapters dealing with the research topics mentioned above.

Mercedes Azpilicueta is an artist born in La Plata, Argentina. She was an artist in residence at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam in 2015-16, and received the Pernod Ricard Fellowship in 2017. Solo exhibitions include CAC Brétigny, Brétigny-sur-Orge (2021); Museion, Bozen (2020); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2019); CentroCentro, Madrid (2019); and MAMBA, Buenos Aires (2018). Her work has been featured at Villa Vassilieff, Paris; REDCAT Gallery, Los Angeles; MACBA, Barcelona (all 2018); CA2M, Móstoles (2017); Onomatopee, Eindhoven (2016); TENT, Rotterdam (2015); and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2014). Azpilicueta is nominated for the Prix de Rome 2021.

Haizea Barcenilla is an art historian and curator in the Contemporary Art and Museum Studies Department at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). Her research revolves around the politics of visibility and gender studies, focusing on discourses created and performed in museum and exhibition contexts. She has carried out research in Japan, Sweden and Ireland. Her exhibitions include: Baginen Bagara (co-curated with Garazi Ansa), San Telmo Museum, San Sebastian (2021); Festa Pagana (with Ansa), Universidad Miguel Hernández, Elche (2020); Andrekale, Tabakalera, San Sebastian (2016); and Incomparable Histories, MKulturunea, San Sebastian (2013). She is a member of the Research Project in Genders and Subjectivities at the University of Málaga.

Sergio Escribano-Ruiz is an historical archaeologist in the Department of Geography, Prehistory and Archaeology at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). He is a member of the Research Group in Built Heritage (GPAC), and the UNESCO Chair on Cultural Landscapes and Heritage. Having carried out archaeological research across Europe (Spain, Italy), America (Canada, Argentina), and Africa (Sahara), during the last decade he has focused on the study of early modern colonialism. He is the author of several articles on this subject, has been published in international journals and several book chapters.