The world is bankrupt. And it’s precisely this bankruptcy that allows us fleeting moments of happiness in the midst of the chaos. We’ve been released and left to reinvent ourselves. We’re adrift in the presence of experiences here and now. Feeling out poetics and delivering prophets. We’re living between centuries, soaking up the destruction and obtaining personal utopia machines. Looks burst and hours fall silent in the middle of the constant noise of the hot streets and the music we can play in our ears all alone. People catch fire and buildings collapse on top of us. We breathe in world images and narratives; we chew over the past and grieve for the future. We’ve expanded our capacity to adapt and extend ourselves, spread through the space of the days, our fingers, our nerves, our pains and our bodies.
This liberty in the face of disaster permits one to see other spaces for life in the dusk of sounds and senses. Each with its own artificial paradise.
And how many of us can give body to what we see in solitude? You certainly can. Here is your silent world of muted forms and blasting colors. Films, lacework, foam, protuberances, cloth acephalies, muscular distortions of glass beads: you make out these shapes from mundane daily life. You entwine yourself with a vision of layers, of the destruction and recreation of a colorful, patchwork body. Structures that throttle expressions and blank out faces. Suffocation by color. Subtle meanness.
Indeed, in these times of shining hearts, financial disenchantment and poetics of risk, do we still need faces? Do we still need to show a definitive, deferent face to the world? I would say not. Even if these days they’re always demanding a woman’s face, a white male’s face, a black man’s face, a youth’s face, a gay man’s face, a celebrity’s face, a miscreant’s face. When I saw the photos of your work, instead of faces I just saw the opacity of veils. The canvas and thread blur the space of memory: under the layers of new skins the nullified marks of some person remain. Instead of subjects I saw bits of color sewn into place, overlapping scraps of cloth, organic shapes in the contrasting harmony of the fabrics. Open bodies sewn together beyond their own fabric.
So if the non-body bodies are more than people wearing something, then they could be more than clothes or sculptures. They could be paintings. They present a fine format that defies the expected form; they upset the certainty of taste with their legs and volumes, arms and spheres. The issue doesn’t boil down to one of taste. It’s bigger than that. In the transposition of the tense colors on your canvases to the organic, articulated space of the patchwork body, the route for giving body to these colors is more important than their final destination at a decorative outcome. Maybe their need for color is as big as their need for space in movement.
Where, then, are the boundaries of painting? Who decides what from the world can be painted, what the best surface is, if the colors are all out there? When colors lose their boundaries, who can say where each one begins or ends?
Are your paintings, with their crude brushstrokes and thick layers, with their swirling abstractions, the first step for you to see colors embracing everything, distorting shapes? How does this happen in this world of yours, where there is no clear separation between skin and cloth, where semblances of people are darned and patched together? Because there’s something uncanny, or rather, there’s something perverse in these garments, in their bulges. You present female bodies whose curves are anything but sensual. They smack of the circus grotesque, the absurdity of a dream, the deviation of a desire. And desires, like colors, are out there in the world. We can all take whatever we want.
Maria, is the world bankrupt? I ask you because so much color would seem to contradict it. Because these misshapen, invented bodies nudge and point out the opposite. For them, the world has not yet begun. The new formats of work-people let loose in space, wandering down streets, wonder why everyone’s so gloomy about things that aren’t known. Why is there so much talk of catastrophe when canvases, ideas, the sun of the five senses are expanding so? Why talk about the bankruptcy of what once was, when each day brings new colors on the horizon?
Yesterday, I was on a bus in town and I saw a girl ring the bell for the bus to stop. I watched her get off (all this through the movie screen of the bus window) and saw another girl, young and composed, was awaiting her on the sidewalk at the bus stop. When they met, despite civilization, they kissed. Candidly. And all their youth spilled out in the caring-commitment of that kiss in the fullness of daylight on a bustling city street. These girls are full of color. These are new loves. These are new bodies. Explosions of values. Affirmative affection. Lives in expansion.
I got home, thought about your photos, and here I am, writing to you.
All my best, Fred