Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires,|
Oct 19, 2007 - Nov 26, 2007
Buenos Aires , Argentina
by Gustavo Buntinx
ON MONICA GIRON’S NEOCRIOLLO
"A dread of ancient metamorphoses"
(Leopoldo Marechal, Adán Buenosayres)
In the beginning was the Word (Saint John). But in the origin was and will be the Matter. Its thing (Heidegger), its aura (Benjamin). The vast spiritual resonance of the coarsest materiality. The mud, the earth. And afterwards, everything that human action generates from them. The work of art as well, inseparable from its matteric substance, its inevitable foreground, its first and primal presence.
Like beeswax, the aureate translucent wax that traps and condenses the intimate historical pulsion absorbed into the sequence of pieces articulated by Mónica Giron under the disturbing name of Neocriollo [Neo-Creole]. A substance whose utmost malleability provided Descartes with the deceptive example for the delegitimization of sensorial knowledge when confronted by the hierarchical imperatives of understanding - deductive reasoning mystified as a superior tool in the intellection of essences.
Giron’s handiwork exercises, without necessarily intending it, a perverse twist on that sophistry. A manipulation of wax that acts as an optical and tactile vindication of the reflexive - also spiritual - powers of the sensual, the sensorial, the perceptual. The place of the senses in sense itself. Social sense as well: the free associations with honey engage these works in the complex oscillation between culture and nature that element and others perform within Levi-Strauss’s culinary triangle. The raw, the cooked, the rotten. And fermentation or refinement as reversible vectors of cooking. Inverted transformations, regressions.
Giron translates these tensions to the more factual aspects of her encaustic facture, priming through heat a slow accumulation of waxes on gauzes steeped in retama oils and paraffine. (The three realms: animal, vegetable, mineral). Remarkable for the empathetic effect thus achieved is the fragility, the precariousness of these pieces, apparently ready to break or disintegrate, even melt. All as a result of that crucial instance in which the artificer subverts her initial proposal of works cast in bronze through the lost-wax technique (the cire perdue) to instead make of that very wax the work of art.
Of that very loss. A decision whose matteric radicality is exalted by the simultaneous artistic recovery of the raw clay used to shape the studies and the molds. Clay and wax are here the complementary opposites of a presence that wants to be organic and primordial. Much in the same way as, in other times, Giron used soils and stones for her crude telluric gloves (1995). Or lambswool in her softly knitted apparel for birds in risk of extinction (1993). A delicately personal weaving of powerful allegories for that Patagonia to which her grandparents emigrated from Switzerland.
A Patagonia that exists no more - and its official mythologization is no longer functional. That "conquest of the desert", in fact inhabited by originary peoples. The foundational invention of a void. Also in the keenest ecological sense.
The hollowing of the earth, the thinning of its biota, the depredation. Part and expression of that darkening of the world amongst whose decisive episodes Heidegger also locates the flight of the gods.
The disappearance of the sacred, the annihilation of the earthly. The erasure of history. From that rarefied air emanates the subtle matter that, before and now, Giron breathes from behind the impressive formality in works whose essential presence is absence. With an imperceptible and dramatic difference: what at times would seem to take shape in the present pieces is the loss even of that identity made up of losses.
Give Me Shelter and Guide Me