Joya: AiR / Fred Hubble / UK


‘I am looking out of the window of my room at Los Gázquez (home of Joya: AiR) at an olive tree in the courtyard, which has recently started to bloom. It is gently blowing in the cool afternoon wind. I recall a conversation I had with Simon earlier today, I too have an olive tree at home that flowers and also yields small fruit scant enough to make a teaspoon of olive oil. I am reminded that both trees are of the same species but belong to profoundly different climates. This relationship is something I felt a great kinship to during my time at JOYA. To inhabit such a severe environment through an art practice is in stark contrast to the bucolic soft landscapes of the West Midlands. The overwhelming beauty and scale of the environment that surrounds you here sets a challenge for your creativity, the gestures I came to perform in the barrancos (ravine), down the many paths and fire breaks in the trees, were reflections on an environment and an ecological situation that revealed itself very slowly to me over the natural course of the days.

Here in the Sierra María you follow the sun rather than the clock, the days seem to stretch and fill at an indeterminate rate as a natural existence.

I arrived expecting arid desert, wandering over white washed limestone plains, and was greeted by brilliant red poppies and rich vegetation. A three-year drought broken a few months prior to my arrival left vast fields of poppies and other ephemeral flowers running wild along the contours of the topography. After many conversations with all of the Beckmanns I came to understanding the work I was making, through arriving with virtually no materials the ephemera of the environment and the environment itself proved the richest and fertile material I could want. It was no longer about making something in the environment but to pass through it with the lightest of touches. I found myself during the nights unable to sleep through the bizarre dreams that I was having consistently, this place itself feels like a waking dream, I am returning to England with many pieces of work, a box of pine needles and a newly founded research to follow. I can only hope to return very soon to realise that this waking dream was no mirage’.

Fred Hubble