Ana Laura Alaez
Juan Luis Moraza
other's desire creates a fiction around me. And there is always a
way of building a new reality.
In the climate of confusion and uncertainty marking
the close of this century and after the long parenthesis of the
eighties - during which artists appeared to be concerned solely
with generating images recognizable to the market - a new generation
of creators has emer-ged which, in some instances, coexisted half-concealed
with media stars of the past decade but retained the flux of their
individual poet-ics. Shunning all absolutist pretensions to conceiving
an artwork as a specific object, they realise that art is a medium
with its own laws but likewise capable of and necessary for linking
up with other spheres of experience. These artists proactively search
for new ways of articula-ting reality and representation and generate
visions that help us to glean the meaning of our being in this world.
Starting from their own experiences and reflections and, lacking
any trace of cynicism or opportunism, they seek out the languages
appropriate to them, while likewise expecting the viewer to flesh
out the meaning of the work with his or her own interpretation.
We now know that aesthetics is not an aloof experience
for, as Fromm says, aesthetic pleasure covers a series of psychological
needs which partly assuage the suffering implicit in the civilizing
process. And, as Benjamin Buchloch puts it, ideological interests
also lurk behind the defence of the work's autonomy. The aesthetic
experience thus fills the void of that subjectivity whose basic
structures rest on the social milieu and reflections on representation
have to contribute to its forms of symbolic articulation.
Thus, when touring the works of the eleven creators
featured at this exhibition, we see how the desire to unite nature
and culture from the present, to question the relationship between
sexuality and ideolo-gy, to deconstruct the linear illusion of progress
and reinterpret history, to ironise about the servitude and perils
of power, to play with fantasi-es of seduction, to confront disease
and death or to question the very flux of representation, takes
on a myriad of forms. Performance, sculp-ture, photography, video
and installation serve these artists who, in this instance, hail
from Spain, but who move within a global context of existential
and ideological concerns as they explore with critical passion some
of the ethical and aesthetic issues of contemporary life.
With the zenithal projection of his delicately
poised tightrope walker, Antoni Abad sets out a vivid, disturbing
metaphor of the perpetual return of all the existential and creative
insecurity we live in.
Ana Laura Alaez deals in the language
of affection and the rhetoric of appearance. She draws an enticing
iconography that delights in stimulating what Octavio Zoya calls
the 'psycho fantasy of desire' in her sculptures in which the body,
at times elliptical, is defin-ed and enhanced by a lavish excess
of adornment, raising it to a plane on which the stratagems of seduction
attain their full power, while simultaneously relaxing on the plush
cushion of pleasure and irony.
The work of Juan Luis Moraza,
likewise concerned with the rhetoric of ecstasy and its clash with
the law, enables us to grasp how postmodernism has revived the use
of extravagance and superfluous-ness as a means of opposing the
heroic, messianic purity of moder-nism. The sequence of high-heels
in Extasis, status, estatua ('Ecstasy, Status, Statue') is an allegoric
play on the intensities of seduction and the linear progression
of women's curves of erotic ecstasy.
Perejaume's intimate relationship
with landscape and with the codes and strategies of its portrayal
has led him to maintain various courses of approach, analysis and
reflection on the art/nature binomi-al with rare poetic delicacy.
The process involved in Restauracio de dues pedres en el Port del
Comte ('Restoring two stones in the Port del Comte') reveals a desire
to heal the wounds inflicted on nature which, in the light of late-capitalist,
tourist consumer culture adopts the guise of merely picturesque
recourse, whereas in El pessebrisme del Quadrat negre ('The Manger-like
Black Square') he questions the value of all essences through a
sculptural configuration in which the cracks in Malevitch's oil
turn into a gigantic metaphor of breakdown.
Obsessed with the possibilities of scientific knowledge
of the world, in his Archipielago Logico (escala humana) ('Logical
Archipelago - Human Scale') Manuel Saiz stresses
the indifference inherent in an element of a series which contains
all the information required to reproduce other, similar elements.
The idea of difference and repetition and, above all, the friction
between implicit mathematical structure and applied natural materials
confront the viewer with the apparent opposition between programmed
order and the disorder of growth, thus highlighting the complexity
of theories on the potential for uncertainly we still perceive to
be inherent in nature's workings.
Paloma Navares has long been
interested in the deconstruction involved in portrayals of the female
body in traditional painting. Her depictions of Venus, nymphs and
Eve are set in a world of dreams and silences that call into question
the role of woman as an
object of contemplation by the male viewer. Her joint endeavour
with another female artist - Paloma Muñoz - in the work,
El nacimiento de dos luciernagas ('Birth of Two Glowworms') expresses
a desire to find new forms of relationship and the power of illumination
emanating from the gaze of woman.
Joan Brossa's Les codenes de
Damocles ('Damocles' Chains') is an ironical structure which, relying
on a significant interplay of associations between words and images,
alludes, among other things, to the need to sanitate power - all
powers. He continues with renewed vigour along the path of political
critique which, in an intelligent con densation of surrealist and
conceptual poetics, has characterised many of his poem-objects.
With her series of photographs entitled H Vocente
('Recumbent') and her installation, Esfanteria para un lavabo de
hospital ('Shelf for a hospital bathroom'), Eulalia Valldosera
presents disturbing reflections on the body, its relationship to
objects and the inversion between interiority and exteriority, all
conveyed through an interplay of light
and shadow with changes of intensity that set up an energy circuit
which admits viewer interference but loses all meaning once the
light has gone out.
The last performance of Pepe Espaliu's
El Nido ('The Nest') in which, over a period of eight days,
the artist gradually stripped off while founding a circular platform
set around a tree, is an allusion to the physical attrition of the
roundabout as a metaphor of life and the dynamics of plunder and
dispossession as they approach the empty, menacing silence of death.
His sculpture, £; poseo de/ am/go ('The Friend's Walk') focuses
on the need to help others in their struggle against AIDS, while
Luisa talks of the multiple emotional, ideological and social prisons
we find ourselves locked in.
The work-in-progress entitled Rent-a-Body, by
Paco Cao and the performance, Epizoo ('Epizoon'),
by Marcel.li Antunez resort to the artist's actual
body as the basic framework of the artwork and require direct, active
involvement by the audience.
Paco Coo rents out his body for
a modest sum, depending on the use and functions required of it,
in an ironical send-up of the growing tendency in our society to
hypostasize the human body In Ep/zoo, Antunez's body is seen hooked-up
to a computer by pneumatic cables. Spectators are invited to use
the computer and play with the animated pictures of the artist.
Such interaction actually impinges on Antunez's body, providing
a broad reflection on virtual violence and real violence, while
billing the audience as the authentic creator of the work.
All these works are presented as phantasmic reflections
of our status quo - they are truths only in that they stand for
something other than themselves and, like all language, are an artifice
capable of generating unintelligibility and fiction, but reality
and meaning, too. The life of metaphors these artists offer us raises
human relationships to a poetic level and is yet another way of
narrating desire which, as
Lacan would have it, generates pleasure precisely because there
exists a phantasm which, by setting up a dialogic interaction, enables
new possibilities for reality to be generated. Hence, these metaphors
create new worlds of experience, transmute our awareness with warmth
and, by eliciting our involvement in creating a language, beckon
us to create poetic emotion, reality and life.