Elena Asins

1940Madrid, Spain | 2015Azpirotz, Spain
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Elena Asins — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Portrait of Elena Asins © Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Spanish conceptual artist.

Elena Asins, a pioneer in computer and conceptual art in Spain, first studied at the Beaux-Arts in Paris and continued at the Universität Stuttgart and Madrid’s Universidad Complutense. Starting in the early 1960s she connected with several experimental currents, joining the Castilla 63 group and the Cooperativa de Producción Artística y Artesana. Her early work tended toward Constructivist-inspired geometrics. She also took an interest in visual poetry and Op Art.
The 1960s saw her first solo shows (Casino Español, Melilla, 1960; Galería Espacio, Madrid, 1962). She took part in the Seminario de Generación Automática de Formas Plásticas (Centro de Cálculo de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 1968-1971). This symposium not only represented a milestone in her career, it was also very significant in terms of the history of Spanish contemporary art, because it brought together both artists and mathematicians in the first experiments in the application of cybernetics to the visual arts. It inspired E. Asins’ interest in art’s mathematical foundations, which she later more fully explored in Stuttgart. Under the influence of Max Bense, the father of “computer aesthetics”, her artwork turned toward the analysis of structures.

During that period, she made a series of drawings called Strukturen [Structures, 1975], polyhedric reticules accompanied by musical terminology involving the concepts of space, time and form. During the 1980s, thanks to fellowships in the New York, at the New School for Social Research and Columbia University, E. Asins began to make computer-assisted drawings, extended series of variations on an initial basic model. During her New York days three-dimensionality became a permanent feature of her production, which now spanned sculpture, urbanism and architecture.

Her late work showed a growing interest in other media, including artist’s books, video and electronica. In installations such as Menhires [Menhirs, 1995], the use of sculpture allowed her to continue exploring modular metaphors. At the same time her line became more ascetic, almost mystical, without abandoning the rigour that characterised her art from the beginning.

Her work garnered broad recognition in recent years. She was awarded the Medalla de Oro al Mérito en las Bellas Artes from the Spanish government in 2006 and the Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas in 2011. She has been the subject of more than forty solo shows, including the late career Fragmentos de la memoria (Museo Reina Sofía, 2011), Encuentros tardíos (Koldo Mitxelena, San Sebastian, 2012) and the posthumous Elena Asins, la ciencia como herramienta de arte (Sala Vimcorsa, Cordoba, 2019). Her work is found in the holdings of the Museo Reina Sofía, the Museo de Bellas Artes in Bilbao and Fundación Juan March, among many others.

Lola Visglerio Gómez

Translated from the Spanish by Leo Stephen Torgoff.

A notice produced as part of the TEAM international academic network: Teaching, E-learning, Agency and Mentoring


© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
Elena Asins — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Elena Asins, Untitled (Circumference), c. 1968-1969, ink (typewriter) on tracing paper, 34.7 x 24.4 cm © Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Elena Asins — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Elena Asins, Strukturen KV 46 [Structures KV 46], 1975, marker on paper and black cardboard, 12.8 x 19 cm © Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Elena Asins — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Elena Asins, Scale. Proyecto para una ciudad [Scale. Project for a city], 2005, forged iron, 4 x 160 x 40 cm © Museo Nacional Centrro de Arte Reina Sofía

Elena Asins — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Elena Asins, Scale, 1982-1983, pencil, ink and enamel on tracing paper, work consisting of 272 drawings, 42 x 29.5 cm © Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Elena Asins — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Elena Asins, 12 Canons 18, 1994, Ink on cardboard, 94 x 136 cm © Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Elena Asins — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Elena Asins, Untitled, c. 1965-1966, Indian ink and gouache on cardboard, 26 x 31 cm © Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Elena Asins — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Elena Asins, Menhires [Menhirs], 1995, 40 pieces of laquered wood © Colección Museo Universidad de Navarra

Elena Asins — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Elena Asins, Composición circular letrista (Una película de Esteban Lasalla con la producción de la C.P.A.A.) [Lettrist circular composition (A film by Esteban Lasalla with production by C.P.A.A.)], c. 1968, ink on paper, 102 x 77 cm © Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

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