Contemporary art

Creative Process / That is a Woman

From Inside

The weedding dress of the poet Delmira Agustini

"That is a woman", words that Rubén Darío wrote in 1913 in his own handwriting for the prologue to Los Cálices Vacíos: "changing the phrase Shakespe are, one could say that is a woman..." referring to the poet. Photograms of Delmira Agustini's wedding dress, worn by the poet Delmira Agustini, used on 14 August 1913. Created by contact between the dress and the emulsified paper by striking it with light in the dark. The gender is the raw material of the work. The camera is absent like her body, the search for its trace is in essence the trace of light on the photosensitive paper, a latent image that must be preserved in the dark until it is revealed, an analogy of the gender violence that survives hidden in intimacy.

The photographic emulsion in contact with the garment, like the skin of the person who wore the dress, was in contact with the murderer. A wedding dress, the dream of many.

Delmira, murdered by her ex-husband in 1914, like many today are murdered by men with whom they were in a relationship. The Brussels lace, composed of pieces made by different hands that are joined together with pins to make the final design, evokes the network of violence behind each feminicide*, contradicting the concept of a crime of passion. Like the fine linen threads that generate patterns, the networks construct the concept of gender and can also propose new structures/non-structures in our contemporaneity.

The art work was created in the literary archive of the National Library of Uruguay. The digital record of the creative process is part of the work, the digital photography narrates the realization of a photographic technique of the early '900, an investigation where what seems old and outdated touches with our present time.

Work selected for the 48th Montevideo Award for Visual Arts.

Entrevista con Jaime Clara sobre el libro "That is a Woman".

by Jaime Clara | Libro "That is a Woman" / Manuela Aldabe

Las Flores de Ida


This is how flowers are born

Las flores de Ida is a photographic serie whose main work is the portrait of Ida Vitale, commissioned by the National Library of Spain for the Cervantes Awards Gallery. 

The pictorial photographic work is based on a digital photograph taken by Aldabe for the Brecha Weekly newspaper and was printed in the noble platinum palladium technique. The poet photograpy was taked during a presentation at the National Library of Uruguay, is surrounded by plants native to Uruguay. 

Palladium platinum is an ancient technique, it is said that its durability is eternal, that it works by direct contact, so the artist placed the negative of Ida's photograph on Fine Art cotton paper painted with palladium platinum and surrounded the image of the poet with plants and flowers native to Uruguay.

Then he took the imprint of each plant that accompanies Ida in her portrait, thus creating a series of delicious photographic jewels, natural size of the plants, which connect directly with the poet and her portrait exhibited in the Italian Room of the National Library of Spain.

Arte work acquisition National Library of Spain. 



Anthotypical blueberries, blackberries and flowers on cotton paper.  

For fifteen days, at the same time, I sat on a photosensitive emulsion that I made myself with blueberries, blackberries and flowers. Its colours change as it is exposed to the sun, the source of life. My shadow builds a photograph day by day. At first it is red, then blue, reaching shades of brown.

On the emulsified paper my own stamp is formed, and on it is my last reproductive cycle. For thirty years, every month, my body has been going through a cycle. Only one month after the work was made, I begin my perimenopause*.

I begin a stage, I can feel free but also threatened by a society that treats women as disposable when they are no longer reproductive. In the trace is the memory of my body, in permanent change.

Time, light, consumes little by little the image, the trace of that cycle. The same light that gave it life with its vegetable pigments will make it disappear.

Using the ancient photographic technique of antotypia, the work is proposed as a unique experience because the action of time and light transform it permanently. Nature is the support and active protagonist of a drawing of light created with the most ecological technique of photography, by direct contact between the sensitive material and my body. Its very long exposure times to the sun allow the repetitive realisation of the creative action, which becomes a rite.

Bs As 2018, Honorable Mention Montevideo Prize, Visual Arts 2019.

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Touch your skin

"Touch your skin" is photographic report, the result of the visit to 19 families victims of femicide in Uruguay. Manu Aldabe toured Uruguay visiting families. This project was declared the cultural interest by Ministry of Education and Culture of Uruguay, winner of Competitive Funds for Culture 2016, Selected for the National Hall of Visual Arts 2016, exhibited at the National Museum of Visual Arts of Uruguay. Also exhibited at the Museo de la Memoria Buenos Aires and around all Uruguayan cities. 

“I ask permission‚ I arrive with a tripod‚ slowly‚ with patience. I choose long exposures respecting the light and the place‚ seeking to eternalize that absence that when it was presence wore that dress‚ that bracelet‚ those pants. I seek to capture what was left of her‚ her mark. When the mother‚ daughter‚ or sister unfolds the garment there is a display of affection that brings us closer to the rite. That memory‚ that silence turns into mourning. I take the photograph. The light picks up the energy of that space. The accumulation of cases breaks with individuality and exhibits it as a phenomenon of social dimensions that contradicts the concept passion crime.”

A special thanks to the relatives who opened the doors of their houses, their wardrobes, their memory to me. Manu Aldabe


I came back from the cinema, it was my first projection on the giant screen the short film was called Hugs, that night I was a victim of sexual violence.

"Ariadna" is a delicate space to give light, share hugs and stories of people who have been victims of gender-based violence. This is an installation, performance and dialogue, which for seven years has traveled through spaces such as: a theater, in the woman prison, a high school, a clothing store, in the city government hall, at the museum of contemporary art SUBTE, and the same National Salon of Visual Arts of Urugay 2018. This work began with an investigation into self-portraits carried out in the Ex Frigorífico ANGLO in Fray Bentos where, after 15 years, I began to question myself, thanks to photography as a tool, about that sexual violence I was victim of sexual violence 15 years before and I never denunce. During the photo sessions in the slaughterhouse, alone in front of my camera, I understood that the way out of that labyrinth needed to be collaborative. Making a collective proposal, I felt it necessary to create this space of intimacy and care to talk about gender violence from the visual arts with a work in permanent construction, every time someone sits down and intervenes, the work changes, makes it more valuable. Because its wealth is in the collective intervention. The notebook as a record is an incunabulum of testimonies from victims of violence, where they recount their process until the perpetrator was assassinated, they denounce sexual abuse in childhood, or the violence experienced by their mothers. This notebook has to date the interventions collected in these four years of pilgrimage, where creators often anonymous and prey to their nightmares cry out to be made visible.

The installation is made up of a table with an embroidered tablecloth, a lamp from which threads hang, a handmade and open notebook to be intervened with pencils, oil paints, brushes, scraps of cloth and embroidery threads by those who want tell their own stories. Three self-portraits and a handkerchief stained with blood where I will embroider my complaint of sexual violence. This performance that accompanies her, sitting on one side of the installation, is a way of being able to enter into an intimate dialogue with whoever approaches, tell them my experience, inviting them to add their own complaints to the notebook and to bring out their fears. 

Art Work selected for the 58th National Hall of Visual Arts.