Asunción Molinos Gordo

¡Cuánto río allá arriba! (How many rivers above!)

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Asunción Molinos Gordo, ¡Cuánto río allá arriba!, 2021-2022, Glazed ceramics and iron, 200x70x70 cm. Image courtesy of TRAVESÍA CUATRO, Art Jameel Collection

Artwork Details


Asunción Molinos Gordo


¡Cuánto río allá arriba! (How many rivers above!)




Glazed ceramics and iron


200 x 70 x 70 cm

Credit Line

Art Jameel Collection

Work Description

Asunción’s practice questions the universal adoption of economic and social policies based on concepts of progress and development, asking us to consider what forms of culture and relations to the world might be lost along the way. 

¡Cuánto río allá arriba! assembles ceramic vessels historically used to transport, store, and consume water. Now relegated to ethnographic and archaeological museums, these receptacles were once integral to daily life. Asunción draws on the rich history of ceramics in southern Spain and Al-Andalus. She evokes the elaborately glazed Nasrid ceramics (1232-1492 CE) and forms used across the Mediterranean. Bringing together everyday vessels with more elaborate and symbolic ones, her      assemblages celebrate water and the social and cultural rituals of carrying and consuming it—rituals that have been largely forgotten as technological changes in distribution and management rendered water ubiquitous.

The vessels were produced in collaboration with artisans in Manises, Spain, still working with medieval techniques from across the Mediterranean. Their stacked forms recall communal drinking fountains or Sabeel—an offering offering of cool drinking water to visitors and passersby still found across the UAE.

The work’s title is taken from Octavio Paz’s 1958 poem “El cántaro Roto” (The Broken Pitcher) criticising false promises of emancipation encapsulated in rhetorics of progress.

Artist Biography

Asunción Molinos Gordo (b. 1979, Aranda de Duero, Burgos, Spain) is a research-based artist strongly influenced by disciplines such as anthropology, sociology and cultural studies. In her practice she questions the categories that define ‘innovation’ in mainstream discourses today, working to generate a less urban-centric way of understanding progress.

The main focus of her work is contemporary peasantry. Her understating of the figure of the small or medium farmer is not merely as food producer but as a cultural agent, responsible for both perpetuating traditional knowledge and for generating new expertise. She employs installation, photography, video, sound and other media to examine the rural realm driven by a strong desire to understand the value and complexity of its cultural production, as well as the burdens that keep it invisible and marginalised.

She has produced work reflecting on land usage, nomad architecture, farmers’ strikes, bureaucracy on the territory, the transformation of rural labour, biotechnology and global food trade.

Molinos Gordo won the Sharjah Biennial Prize 2015 with her project WAM (World Agriculture Museum) and represented Spain official section at the 13th Havana Biennial 2019. Her work has been exhibited at venues including V&A Museum (London), Delfina Foundation (London), ARNOLFINI (Bristol), The Townhouse Gallery (Cairo), Darat Al Funun (Amman), Tranzit (Prague), ART BASEL Miami Beach (US), Cappadox Festival (Uchisar-Turkey), The Finnish Museum of Photography (Helsinki), Museo Carrillo Gil (Mexico), MAZ Museo de Arte de Zapopan (Mexico), MUSAC (León, Spain), CA2M (Madrid, Spain), CAB de Burgos (Spain), Matadero (Madrid, Spain) and La Casa Encendida (Madrid, Spain), among others.

She obtained her B.F.A. from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, where she also pursued her Master in Contemporary Art Theory and Practice. She is currently studying Anthropology and Ethnography at UNED (Spain).

Molinos Gordo is represented by Travesia Cuatro gallery and lives between Spain and Egypt.