The Great Series (1997-2003)
In March, her father passes away.
In May, along with her studio colleagues, Delia Piccirili- who was in another studio of the same building- and with Álvarez Enjuto as curator, she organizes a exhibition in their own workshop which they promote and run, to some degree as a protest against the ‘dictatorship’ of galleries and the art market. The exhibition was very well received by their colleagues and it had a timid reflection on the press, which showed how difficult it is to make your own way without any sales support. In any case, it was a tremendous effort, since it forced them to clear all up and turn a work space into an exhibition room. This was the first time Pilar showed her works around the portrait of the “ “Mujer Anónima”[Anonymous woman]”.
Perhaps due to the contacts she made after this ‘home-made’ exhibit, and meeting the need of going back to the commercial circuits, she starts to collaborate with the Mallorcan gallery owner Lluc Fluxá. Led by her, in this same year, she takes part in two group exhibitions: one called “Transfhorma”, on the occasion of the Feria del Calzado de Madrid [Madrid Footwear Fair], for which she produces a a specific work using an old wooden shoe last; and the other one at the gallery headquarters in Majorca. Later, in 1998, the relationship will be extended with a collective exhibition at the Centro de Arte Saquarterna in Inca (Majorca), and at ARCO- 99 [International Contemporary Art Fair].
A new stage begins, and her participation in group exhibitions is continuous. Pilar feels herself in great shape, besides her work is achieving a certain degree of popularity, which unfortunately does not match a commercial success. This will always be a matter of concern for her, not so much by economic reasons but rather because she considers success as the only thing she is missing to step up and become established in the contemporary art scene- as it is, to a large extent, an ‘external’ sign critics and gallery owners put so much emphasis on. She also suffers when she confirms that even though she takes her work seriously and with professionalism, she is not rewarded with a higher degree of economic self- sufficiency. She is starting to realize that she ‘has come too late’ to the art market, and also thinks she is in some way discriminated because of her low profile in the commercial circuits: she is not young, she is a woman, and she is not ‘bohemian’ enough, that is, she is seen as a housewife who became an artist.
In February, she holds an exhibition at the Montalbán gallery, along with two other artists. Although it is not strictly solo, the wide space of the gallery allows her to offer a rather panoramic display of her recent production since her previous exhibition at the Círculo de Bellas Artes, especially the one that means a new evolutionary stage: the series around the photo of the Anonymous Woman’, including “Monólogos” and “Círculos sobre tu imagen”.
In June, she participates in the collective exhibition “Patio de Figuras”, organized by Álvarez Enjuto at the covered patio of the Consejería de Cultura de la Comunidad de Madrid [Madrid Department of Culture], in plaza de España, where she exhibits the work that a short time later would be awarded with the fundación del Fútbol Profesional prize [Proffesional Football foundation]: “Restaño”. Up to eighteen artists take part in this exhibition, among them stand out Ciuco Gutiérrez, Laura Torrado, Sigfrido Martín Begué, Manuel Rufo, Andrés Ángel and Guillermo Pérez Villalta.
And she is also present at “Visiones de lo Invisible” [Views of the Invisible], a collective exhibit commemorating the 10th anniversary of the A. T. Kearney company at their own head office. Among the eleven artists participating were Ángel Mateo Charris and Manuel Queijido. Pilar shows her four “Monólogo” and her two works entitled “El peso de las ideas” [The weight of the ideas]
This year she is awarded, thanks to “Restaño”, with her second important prize in an art contest, in the sculpture category, on the occasion of the IV Certamen Cultural de la Fundación del Fútbol Profesional [4TH Professional Football Foundation Cultural Contest], with Natividad Navalón jointly.
Besides, in February, she shows her artwork at ARCO, in the Lluc Fluxá gallery, both the last works of her series about the anonymous woman, and the most important ones of the series “El universo es cuadrado [The Universe is Square].”.
In February, she celebrates what would be the last solo exhibition of her career, at galería 57 (in calle Columela, Madrid), that later in June would be entirely moved to the Exhibition Room in the Polvorín de la Ciudadela, belonging to the Pamplona City Council. The highlight of the exhibition was the series dedicated to “La gran guerra [The Great War]”, which she had just finished. Other works revolved around it, as in the retratos de soldados [Soldiers’ Portraits] and, again, “El universo es cuadrado”. The Polvorín was a great setting...A couple of years later, she would exhibit again in that room, a group exhibition entitled “La Duplicidad de la Mirada” [The look’s duplicity].
In November, she shows her works again in a collective exhibition organized by Álvarez Enjuto at the Comunidad de Madrid’s room in Plaza de España: “Mujeres: Manifiestos de una naturaleza muy sutil” [Women: Manifestos of a very subtle nature]. Trini Irisarri and Marisa Moral are among the fifteen artists selected for the occasion, as well as Ana de Alvear, Ángeles Agrela, Ángeles Marco, Felicidad Moreno, Natividad Navalón, Paloma Navares, Delia Piccirili and Laura Torrado. Apart from exhibiting several works from both the series la Gran Guerra and “Soldados”, she also rediscovers the one awarded in Alcalá ten years ago, which could be considered a recognition of the important role it played at the beginning of this productive decade.
This year she experiences one of the biggest disappointments of her career. Thanks to her friend Teresa Pajares, who often travels to the region surrounding Amiens, in France, she gets in contact with the Albert Museum, dedicated to the First World War. Albert is located at what was once called the Maginot Line, the military defences constructed by the French to stop the German forces in 1914, that is, the war-ravaged area appearing in the postcards used by Pilar for her series about the Great War. Teresa, being aware of this close link, had shown the catalogue of the exhibition at Galería 57 to the museum officials, and they were immediately interested in exhibiting a work showing such an original reflection on the conflict that left a deep mark in their region. After several letters and telephone calls, the museum officials and Pilar reach an agreement. The museum- otherwise a modest institution- would pay both the artist and travel expenses, negotiate a contract with a Spanish company and pack the works. After speaking with several companies, Pilar chooses one with a budget the museum can afford. She begins to prepare on her own the boxes and also does the packing, so that the exhibition is not an additional cost for the family finances. After all, she is used to constructing boxes for her works. For two months, she does nothing other than that. They are carefully prepared, with her characteristic craftman’s patience. However, a week before the shipping, the company comes out with an excuse and says that their budget is wrong and the shipping costs are almost double in price. The museum officials feel deceived and refuse to pay the difference. Against the clock, as the date of the opening exhibition is now set, Pilar desperately searches a new company to do the shipping at a lower cost. On top of that, she and her husband Fernando had already purchased their plane tickets using their own money. It was all in vain. No exhibition takes place. The works stay packaged in the studio. Pilar and Fernando do not travel. She is deeply disappointed. It will take her some time to get over it.
It could not be said that this event led to her worsening health, but without a doubt it did not help at that moment, as thirteen years after her first surgery her heart pumped out the blood with less force. A couple of years will pass before her condition becomes worrying.
On December 17th, her first grandson is born, Ginés, Genoveva’s son. Later, the following grandchildren: Henar, also Genoveva’s daughter, and Iván and Iria, César’s children. She would not meet Iria.
She joins the AVAM (Associated Visual Artists of Madrid) and actively participates in the Association life. She even became a member of the board of directors.
In March, she exhibits together with Trini, Marisa, Delia Piccirili and Iraida Cano at the Centro Cultural Galileo. The exhibition, curated by Rosa Pereda, is called “Pentálogo”, in reference to how the five artists engage in a conversation within the showroom through their works. It was her last series’ debut, before moving on to the manipulation of digital images: “No me abandones [Don’t abandon me]”, produced from 2001 to the beginning of 2002.