aNaMaRiA ~ artblog

Saturday, October 22, 2011

PASSAGES - Opening / Apertura

Seedling Art Space
October 02, 2011

Text by Carlos Alberto Manrique Clavijo, September 2011

"(…) to exist is to change, to change is to mature,
to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly." [1]

Throughout her career, emerging artist Ana María Méndez Salgado has been exploring several interconnected concepts and fragments of her worldview through diverse media and techniques. Her curiosity about memory and identity has been nurtured by her interest in
the relationships between images and story-telling
while being constantly shaped by her own experiences as a migrant.

Within this context, her concern for transforming "memories into experiences, and experiences into objects", as she explains it, is reborn as the visceral need for making sense of a world in which sense is not necessarily something to be found, and less so, rationalised:
"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent." [2]

In "Passages", the artist explores some of these concepts through an installation in a corrugated iron "pump shed". Within it, four digital screens display a looped, short-experimental animation surrounded by translucent prints of the animation frames which at the same time are stitched to handmade fibrous paper squares hanging on the walls.

In the words of the artist, "the animation, main piece of the exhibition, intends to illustrate the journey of the seed as it moves from one state to the other, passing through water, wind, fire and earth, while being used as a metaphor for new beginnings and constant regeneration." This 'passing through', is not to be only understood within the physical connotation of moving from one place to another but also as a process of transformation between states of being.
"A passage is a journey that symbolises movement, motion, transition,
development and more importantly: Change. (…)
[They are] episodes of time and verbs in action (…) so they are best portrayed by loops of moving, breathing images", explains Ana María.

The animation has four sections that tell a story of incubation, birth, evolution and transmutation in each one of them. Thus, she uses archetypal symbols that connect the four classical elements with the cardinal directions and the four seasons, while representing the stages of human growth, the steps involved in the creative process and the psychological and spiritual stages in a migrant's journey within four scenes of the animation. The art-making practice becomes a ritual where the artist connects with the mystical and in which moments in time are blurred into a continuum: "(…)" the abolition of time by the imitation of the archetypes and the repetition of the paradigmatic exploits.
(…) all sacrifices repeat the original sacrifice and coexist with it.
(…) through the paradox of rites, the profane time and duration are then suspended." [3]

But regardless of this timelessness, 'Being' is not something static; it is in motion. Being IS motion. But motion is not something that can be analysed and encompassed by reason. Hence, surrounding the screens, the small prints are frames within frames: analogies to the contrast between the tangible, real and organic fibres of life surrounding our virtual, technology mediated present. But furthermore, these static snapshots are opposed to the flow of images in motion, evidencing a strong influence of the notions of time and movement as understood by french philosopher Henri Bergson. By watching the animation, we flow with it, we happen and endure with it and thus, we get to an intuitive knowledge of what it embodies. But the mind is not always satisfied by this. And to be able to analyse and compare, it dismembers what life is (duration and movement) and freezes it into 'spatialised time': fragments of movement -which are not movement anymore- that can be placed next to one another and be compared.

Finally, the enclosing shed is a symbolic threshold between the physical exterior and the mental or spiritual interior. It becomes a 'container' in which one is invited to question one-self and muse on the nature of change since Ana María's art work is, in the end,
more about posing questions than dictating answers.

[1] Bergson, Henri, "Creative Evolution",
translated by Arthur Mitchell, New York, Henry Holt and Company, 1911, chapter I.

[2] Wittgenstein, Ludwig, "Tractatus logico philosophicus",
translated by C. K. Ogden, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & CO., LTD., London, 1922.

[3] Eliade, Mircea, "El Mito Del Eterno Retorno",
translated by Ricardo Anaya, Emecé, Buenos Aires, 2001.

The artist would like to thank Rob Farnan, David Colebatch, Jo Wilmott, Riyadh Abdoul Abdul-Hussain Gelawe, Lydia De Wolf, Geraldine Pope, Michael "Fazz" Farrell, Sam Hardy,
Carlos A. Manrique Clavijo, the Seedling Art Space commitee
and the support of Adelaide friends and art commiunity.

The artist wishes to dedicate this artwork to her grandparents,
Salatiel Augusto Salgado and Irma Farías.

Photographs by Riyadh Abdoul Abdul-Hussain Gelawe

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