CUCA NELLES “I’m a Rabbit”

My grandfather was a magician…

On Saturdays we used to eat rabbit.

When we were children we played with our dad. One day we tried to communicate telepathically, each of us at one end of the house.

-Concentrate for two minutes. I will send you an image with my mind and you will try to visualise it. What do you see? -He asked me, raising his voice from another room.

– I see a white rabbit with a black eye! -I replied.

My father came running in, surprised by my success.

– We did it! I held a black bowler on the white wall as we played. It’s the rabbit’s eye!

(Curiosity and escape from adult life lead Alice to chase the rabbit, then comes the loss of identity as she falls down the rabbit hole. Alice is physically and psychologically lost).

Years of upbringing, identity crisis, loss of independence, loss of individuality.

When I don’t feel, I take refuge in a deep and hidden burrow. Journey to the interior, to the INFerno, to the INFinity. Dissection of feelings, emotions, reasons and thoughts. Interweaving images that sprout unconsciously with other reflected ones. Life experience, conversations. A toast of the environment.

And I paint an exquisite corpse with the simplicity of a child:

House, family, you and me, rabbits, domestic violence, coping, surviving, absent, sleeping, dreaming, desiring, loving, longing, leaving. Mutilating, decapitating…

-Killing rabbits makes me feel better in times of crisis. -I said.

(The rabbit is a recurring figure, its image is tender and the human being is atrocious).

Human vulnerability, dehumanisation, masquerade, armour, refuge.

To disappear in order to look for oneself and find oneself again. (Firmer, more me).

My grandfather was a magician.


In I’M A RABBIT, I talk about the loss of identity, stepping aside, slowing down and seeing yourself. You are now a person other than what you were, when that “what you were” is now a supporting actor in your present. This has happened to me with the experience of motherhood. The rhythms of life change, you no longer feel like an individual, you are two and the other is the one who dictates. I stopped painting for almost two years and when I forced myself to take it up again, I did it with a choppy and agonising rhythm.

From the everyday, from the burrow, from home, playing, I created collage images with my daughter. First between her lines and my drawings, then between her drawings and my cut-outs. In this way, an imaginary began to emerge that reflected a formal deconstruction of what I had intended in previous series. My figurative interventions in shared notebooks were now taken over by uncontrolled, absolutely mechanical strokes, with no conceptual or aesthetic intention, but which, in my opinion, provided an expression that was very similar to the feeling I had about the loss of myself. Then, as time progressed and my daughter became more skilled, her drawings have added an intention and meaning completely alien to mine. However, formally the symbiosis seemed perfect to me as an expressive resource. When I resumed my artistic activity in the studio I decided to use it in my work.

In those days of hesitant rhythm, alone, in front of the blank paper, in front of the blank canvas, in front of myself in white, I sketched decrepit rabbits, mad, drunk with themselves… pampering their tender image as if they were my guardians of dreams or of my nightmares. Then I thought, here they are again.

The first time I painted rabbits I linked them to a creative crisis in 1998, I don’t think I was aware then that the crisis was more existential. Since then I haven’t stopped. I come to the conclusion that my rabbits are me, a reflection of myself, of my most vulnerable side. That’s why “killing rabbits makes me feel better”.

I talk about loneliness, silence, Love, lack of love and abandonment.

I am a rabbit, I am a woman.

To find oneself, to recognise oneself, to reaffirm oneself.

Sometimes I get a bit lost, I lack time, space, I lack myself.

Any creative medium allows me to reaffirm myself as an individual and to find meaning in existence, to manage emotions and to channel the “Non-logic” so important in my opinion.

To create, to kill, to save, to deform, to pamper, to pervert, to lose, to search, to find…

Cuca Nelles, Santander 2021

Graduated in Fine Arts by the University of Castilla La Mancha, Cuca Nelles has been awarded prizes in the 10th and 11th Fernando Zóbel Plastic Arts Competition (1998 and 1999), in 2000 and 2005 by the Regional Ministry of Education and Youth of the Government of Cantabria and in 2006 in the 5th Plastic Arts Prize of the Government of Cantabria. In 2010 he exhibited in the Observatory of the Arts in Arnuero with his individual “Rojo oscuro 162”. At Juan Silió Gallery “A hurtadillas” (2008) and “Nos Otros” (2013). In 2015 “Los ojos de los muertos” at Espacio MeBAS (MAS). She has exhibited collectively in exhibitions such as “Veinte miradas desde Cantabria a la violencia de género”, “My name is Esperanza” at Mercado de la Esperanza, Santander; “Beauty and Sadness”, at Galería Torreao Nascente da Cordoaria Nacional, Lisbon, and in Industrie und Handelskammer, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. She has participated in SIANOJA, at the Palacio de Albaicín in Noja, in the Festival Miradas de Mujeres at the CASYC in Santander and in the collective of Cantabrian artists “Meaning Making” (2013) at the Cervantes Institute in New York. In 2017, “Blanco Media y carajillo”, Castillo de Argüeso, Reinosa; in 2018 “Las sinsombrero”, Biblioteca Cantral de Cantabria; “Frontera 40” (2020) at Casa del Aguila y de la Parra, Santillana del Mar and “De tal palo tal astilla” (2021) at Sala Mauro Muriedas in Torrelavega. He has also been present at fairs such as Artesantander and Artelisboa. Her work can be found in Colección Norte of the Government of Cantabria, the Caja Cantabria Collection and the Collection of the General Institute for Women in Cantabria.


11th February – 12th April, 2021
Cuca Nelles

Galería Juan Silió
C/ Sol 45, bajo. 39003 Santander.

Opening Hours:
Monday – Saturday,
10.30AM – 1.30PM
6PM – 9PM
(Opening: 11th February)