Ocells perduts (Stray Birds), 2021
Ocells perduts (Stray Birds), 2021 Laia Estruch

Notes for an Eye Fire exhibition views. Photo: Miquel Coll

Laia Estruch’s practice hinges on the voice as a material reality—an expressive force and a medium that is expelled from the body.

Developed during the past year, when our very breaths have brought risk and we have often been unable to leave our neighbourhoods, Ocells perduts departs from her attempts to transform her voice towards a state of airborne mobility by approximating the songs and calls of migratory birds that nest in Barcelona—including the turtle dove, the cuckoo, and the scops owl.

Notes and noises fly out and around a huge net that is suspended high above—a stage for a series of live vocal rehearsals by the artist. A collage of pre-recorded vocalizations functions like a sonic lure, while a wind sock sculpture displays a form of performance score.

The idea for Ocells perduts was first sparked in early 2020 when Estruch happened upon a Catalan translation of Stray Birds (1916), Bengali writer Rabindranath Tagore’s collection of aphoristic poems, at a second-hand bookshop in Mexico City.

Making of

Laia Estruch
Laia Estruch
Laia Estruch
Laia Estruch
Laia Estruch
Laia Estruch
Laia Estruch
Laia Estruch
Laia Estruch
Laia Estruch
Laia Estruch
Laia Estruch

Photos: Latitudes and Hiuwai Chu

Laia Estruch "Ocells Perduts"
Study sessions (2021/04/29)

Sound technician: Pablo Miranda

Laia Estruch "Ocells Perduts"
Study sessions (2021/05/24)

Sound technician: Pablo Miranda

Laia Estruch "Ocells Perduts"
Study sessions (2021/06/19)

Sound technician: Pablo Miranda

About Laia Estruch

Laia Estruch

Laia Estruch’s practice hinges on the voice as a material reality—an expressive force and a medium that is expelled from the body. Over the last ten years, her work has broached the fields of contemporary art, spoken word and experimental theatre, undertaking a kind of no-frills exploration of the voice’s communicative and emotive grammar while probing the conventions of staging it. Her interest focuses on the extremities and porosity of the spoken word in its relationship with song and raw sound. The articulation of noises and meanings often encompasses and exceeds human vocal language: breathing, exclamation, mumbling, ululation, cries and whispers. The voice is recast as an extraordinary, supra-human object. Estruch’s recent performances have involved scenes and routines in which her body is suspended above the ground, be it via the playground-like structures and inflatables of Moat (2016–2018), the swimming pool setting of Crol (2019) or the suspended stage of Ganivet (2020–2021).

Laia Estruch has a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the Universitat de Barcelona (2010) and also studied at The Cooper Union, New York (2010). She has had solo exhibitions at the Fundació Joan Brossa, Barcelona (2020–2021); Capella de Sant Roc, Valls (2019); and Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona (2019). Her group exhibitions include La cuestión es ir tirando, Centro Cultural de España, Mexico City (2020), and Back to School, Fundación Rafael Botí, Córdoba (2018). laiaestruch.com

Laia Estruch, Moat
Laia Estruch, Crol
Laia Estruch, Crol
Laia Estruch, Crol
Laia Estruch, Ganivet
Laia Estruch, Ganivet
Laia Estruch, Ganivet


Ganivet (2020-2021), Fundació Joan Brossa de Barcelona. Video: Arnau Mata.

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I don’t think about art when I’m working. I try to think about life
Jean-Michel Basquiat