sharing a secret isn’t knowing it or breaking its promise, it is sharing something ignored: nothing known, nothing that can be determined.
In one of her least know essays, Spanish philosopher, María Zambrano makes an intriguing commentary regarding artistic practice. Discarding the useless attempt at paraphrasing her words – having the absolute need to have the author’s unadulterated voice read/heard - I transcribe the passage that will guide this brief reflection: “A confession searches for, not a virtual time, but a real one; thus, not daring to settle for a virtual temporality, it stands still precisely at that place where the real time is to take place. This is the time that can’t be transcribed; a time that cannot be captured, it is the unity of life that no longer needs to be expressed. That is why all art possesses some deviated form of confession, sharing, at times, the same objectives as confession, recreating itself as it unfolds, and detains and spends time as if it were a supreme human luxury.”
Let us walk by Zambrano’s side for a moment, and consider her reflections as a pretext for examining the confessions that—already encapsulated—pervade in the works which comprise this exhibition. Let’s talk about that temporality which escapes completely from discursive approaches; a temporality waiting as a promised threshold to be wandered in the somewhat uncanny spatiality the work of art appears to offer. For, according to Zambrano, a confession does not exist in language, rather it happens actively while it inhabits and engenders the act of speech. This is why those who speak and those who hear a confession participate in the complicity that beholds this uncertain temporality that exists in anticipation of the continuity of time. As if the time that hadn’t (still) been spoken from which a confession is nurtured had carried within itself enough beheld strength—existing as a (de)historicized wound—to be able to situate the confessed secret in a spatiality of infinite potential.
Assuming the validity of this active present that Zambrano claims in relation to a confession, the realization of an irreducible subject could be found in its temporality. This fractured subject in its shattered condition gives of itself completely, and negates the relinquishment of being. For life needs to express itself beyond reason and imposed orders. With all its urgency, it is important to understand that a confession does not participate in an impulsive manner that places itself at risk. Any confession takes place within the realm of defeat. Therefore, the word which names it connotes the silence of that which has been (until now) kept unsaid; that which now runs away from itself. This is the reason why he who confesses has the possibility of constructing a recreation of time rescued from a past that (until then) hadn’t really belonged to him, a past that had been ‘other’.miguel fernández. piso reconstruido. de la serie continuidad de las superficies. 2010
The works in this exhibition wander the proximities of this confessed temporality searching to find that unity of life which would no longer need for words. In each of them exists something that has been already spoken, so the work of art becomes a means of perpetual disclosure of its needs. They interact in this almost-present temporal space, sharing with others who listen and receive its fragility. In spite of their ‘non-confessable’ nature, these works openly and nakedly share with the viewer textures that reveal themselves in their material renderings. Based on the assumption that a reality exists which remains hidden, ruptured, is a reality retained at the verge of confession, this exhibition confesses itself by reuniting works through the boundaries of this hidden reality—sharing in its (still) silenced origin the same small distance that exists between its (in)visible layers. Having found among the artists selected a common resonance in the urge to transform the irreducible category of that which calls itself “the truth” into a genre in crisis that needs to confess its downfalls and failures; this curatorial proposal acknowledges life when its present reality is distant even from the possibility of recognizing its own contours.
marcela quiroz luna
about the artists and their work
| the work of mely barragán—often hastily and presumptuously associated with issues of gender and traditional feminist art—generates a discursive tone and timbre which animates and subverts the aesthetic and conceptual proposal of her duplicated men by rendering fine lines over an empty surface. with this schematic, meticulous and texture-less representation of paper bodies which comprise the works he man i and ii, barragán reproduces design prints and images from idealized magazine illustrations from the mid-20th century; demonstrating with apparent simplicity, the fragility which tries to hide itself not only in the image, but even from the artists herself.
the technical decisions operate under perfect equilibrium and resonance with the semiotic tactics of barragán’s unsettlingly fragile bodies. the artist converts these staggering narcissists into suggestive reflections/refractions concerned with the fracturing which is inherent and inevitable in this over-saturated and symbolic construct. the tremor of their doubled bodies whispers with thundering clarity the un-veiled human condition when it is most exposed–not in its nakedness–but in its endeavor to soften its contours and disguise that which still remains of its singularity.
| although individual pieces, the work of hugo lugo selected for this exhibition follow a particular arrangement which interrelate in an almost narrative order. these delicate drawings of solitary men which characterize and populate his work establish a dual game between representation and language; a game that straddles, like a tightrope walker, the uncertain trajectory of a string. with these particular pieces, lugo’s solitary men do not question the world and its objects in estranged situations as they habitually do. instead—now somewhat defeated—they try to support themselves with words and lines as the source of their gestures. between stitched phrases—exhausted of meaning before the imminent elusiveness of their existence—in theses images, lugo’s characters seem as though they are trying for the first time to “declare” their necessity for words–even if they are in the voice of others. one such existential quote is one that the artist has chosen using his own words embellishing the colorless emptiness. nevertheless trying to assuage his evident urgency to confess, lugo and his alter egos fight to occupy the empty spaces that the hand executes in the place of words.
hugo lugo. estudio para explicar la ausencia |
estudio para aumentar la sospecha. 2010
estudio para aumentar la sospecha. 2010
| the gravitational center of this exhibit is an of unearthed fractured cement flooring. the sonora artist miguel fernández has recuperated, one by one, the floor fragments of an old desert ranch owned by his ancestors as an archeological excavation into that which would seem familiar; to do this, he recreates the photographic register of another moment in time, administering the physical re-location of the ruin as if it were a record of something still to happen. renown for his photographic work documenting urban and domestic interventions, in this current departure fernández shares with precision the consistent aesthetic and philosophical tenor that has marked his earlier trajectory. miguel fernández. de la serie continuidad de las superficies. 2010
the photographic trace and its disappearance; emptiness as a depictable temporality; the insidious registry of the unnecessary—his archeological strategy re-situates the forgotten wounds of a shattered memory. the transferred objects and places that the artist collects suggest the awareness of a pertinent history which ravages and searches for answers that had been previously silenced.
| they say the blind anticipate and prevent falling not with their hands, but their their ears. however, the recurrence of a certain sound can also induce a type of auditory amnesia that can act in very similar manner to the veiled eye. as an urgent necessity, the body ignores and defends itself against damage—the body confronts danger as much as it stops seeing danger, ignoring its warnings. with equivalent fearful integrity, the mind is capable of not-listening to itself due to unbridled and uncontrollable torments. the work of daniel ruanova is a permanent reproach against these and other issues associated with violence. a prudent and devastating allegory of contemporary existence in a non-declared warzone—as often is the case with any physical or ideological border—ruonova’s piece centros (reloj/watch) imposes the pulse of power on the futility of confrontation. the minimalist sensibility of the piece confesses its loaded signification in a relentlessly antiseptic and disturbing ascesis. daniel ruanova. centros (reloj). 2005-2010.
| assuming that a negotiation regarding surface takes place between the body of the work and the spectator when observing a photographic image, this gesture is sentenced to an imaginative and empathic impossibility. denying this “safe” distance of contact and the solitude which exists between the image and the unilateral direction of its appreciation, the images of mayra huerta cautiously revive the fantastic potential of this medium. imposed contexts thus shape the otherwise repudiated dualities over the facades of her constructions, transforming into a discrete understanding of the descriptive surface as narrative depth. her images link the singular temporality of a shot taken in a state of figurative indecision—unraveling the discovery of distant and foreign spaces—with a new structure of visual relationships and texture which remains essentially tactile in its suggestive power. mayra huerta. de la serie irregular, sin título a y b. 2006-09
by doing this, she reveals the history of photography not only in its experimental foundations, but also with a playful and deadly character. conscious of the potential of the photographic medium, huerta knows that if she has to capture reality, she must do so by killing it in small fragments.
| the primordial substance of the work of shinpei takeda—whether still images, video, site-specific installations or performance—is memory; for it is from memory that our body confesses its most intimate substance. the encounter with a personal, cultural and historical past from which takeda distills his work always speaks in a centrifugal tone between reverence and explosion.
first name last name first is the aesthetic and real life manifestation of a calligraphic-visual process in which the japanese artist places and superimposes the history of his experience until the moment he arrived at tijuana 6 years ago. the artist attempts to strengthen himself in order to avoid his perpetual condition of being temporary, transitory and mortal. looking to find the implications, reservations and revelations that signify the naming of one’s self, he repeatedly transcribes his name in inverted orders as dictated by oriental and occidental traditions (in japan the last name comes first). with the words consisting of his own name, takeda composes the words with a seductive and—apparently—planimetrically designed tide over the exterior area of the gallery. this gesture and location not only conveys a profound sense of identity, but also reflects the symbolic variations of weight and density that exist between one’s roots and one’s sense of belonging.