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CRISTINA PORTELA

 

My artwork, which includes painting, video and video-installation, has followed a sinuous course. Nothing appears to be clear, yet the climate, the tone, let a restlessness atmosphere to be seen.  Free from space and time coordinates, the artworks show situations of dream poetry. For a long time, I dealt with the domestic world with its potential violence, the inherent trauma, the paradoxical memory and oblivion, the harassment of fear. Images of interiors, motley wallpapers, furniture, and fetish animals depicted these obsessions. A sense of potential catastrophe -either real or not- invaded everything. In this way, my artwork exposed an antique appearance which suggested remembrance, as well as the significance of atmospheres and experiences with the power of leaving marks. Nevertheless, memory appears to be a utopia.  

In previous paintings, in a serie named ”Vida de Perros" (A Dogs' Life) I used to represent unreal dogs, as a way of a metaphor and poetry of discomfort. In other series named Casas (Houses), painting becomes the scenario: the fact scene. In the videos I go back to the same ideas, following in the same dream and no-lineal aesthetic, the fragmented and timeless... with a clear touching tone. In “Aura” and “Un plan Perfecto” (A Perfect Plan), my latest videos, I have exposed metaphorically the idea of re-edition (once again, repetition) of the trauma and overcoming fears as a strategy for survival. Previous videos “¡Ay Dios!” (Oh God!) and Noche (Night) anticipated these worries: in both videos the presence of the past is observed that interrupts the present time as a flashback to make us remember that it is coming back again and again. The past time saying that its visit shall always be shadow and harassment.  

Bearing this in mind, in my last project Átomos flotando en el espacio (Atoms floating in the Space) I've imposed myself a different position. To build emptiness, to create infinite spaces where "releasing" traumatic memory may be possible.  Átomos ... (Atoms) meets such desire and constructs, fragment after fragment, a place for closing the eyes, breathing deeply and feeling fresh air. The goal might be to go beyond my tiny story and to create a freedom experience within this context of renewed silence.  It is about rebuilding a friendlier universe, with no fear with no pleas because -as the poetess Brightwell once claimed: "(...) there are no evil beings watching ... just atoms floating in the space (...)"   

Cristina Portela 2015

ATOMS FLOATING IN SPACE

 

Don't be afraid, don't plead, don't beg:  There are no evil beings watching, thunder is mere thunder and not punishment, just atoms, floating in the space.  Eglantine Brightwell (English poet, 1825).

Striped structures that create weaved backgrounds on which an eternal unfinished tale is settled.  Shapes appear to be blurred and with an inclination to abstraction.   Átomos ... creates a fractional and indirect reality that evade immediate referentiality. The general climate, soothed by light tones, is one of a restlessness atmosphere.  Something disturbing -either real or imaginary- can be perceived between lines. Slides, plans and overlapped images, tracks and traces, they are all questioning time and space coordinates.    What we are watching, is it now and here? If there is a tale, is this the fact scene or its exit door? From the darkness, unfinished but confident lines lead to the memory exercise: they are an evocation. As a shadow, the flashback is deduced as solid matter but that quickly blurs, breaks and explodes. Within these parameters, within this pictorial universe, everything has turned into fragments, everything is a fraction and a remainder that flies in the air. Of a metaphysical tone, Átomos ...  edges the nightmares, it plays with them, however in its dark and silence fracture there is calm. What was disturbing before, now is perceived as a wish, even as a slight calm, may be.  Then, something is redeemed.  “(...) don’t be afraid! They are just mind games and [...] atoms floating in the space [...]" 

 

VIDEOS

Aura and A Perfect Plan are part of the series of videos Nada escapa a la noche (Nothing escapes from the night) and they work in tandem, as audiovisual diptych.   They are also an advance of the poetry searches for Átomos en el espacio (Atoms in the space), and so they are like a visual prologue to the paintings of said series.  The set explores the idea of repetition, as a wound that scores and damages.  In a mystery tone and free from space and time coordinates, these videos describe -in a symbolic and metaphorical way- the experience of what is approaching.  By means of clues, there is something that threatens but it is unseen, it generates a gap and gains space.  Defenses collapse (a synecdoche of our own walls, may be). As the water, which shall run through again and again, and it shall leave shadow and harassment on its way.  Perhaps -as the curator Mariana Rodriguez Iglesias has pointed out regarding these videos- it is about "the art, which is known to arrange emptiness through the sublimation that implies making contact with the symbolic environment. The art -in any of its forms, currently more numerous than ever- generates a happy way out for the inclination of our everyday thoughts, it gives us a sort of "in-brackets" of the significance which comes -clearly- after a different reasoning. This "in-brackets" position is supposed to guarantee the discontinuation of the anguish of being alive, but at the same time, it is the counterpart of a negotiation with meaning, when we abandon the idea of understanding everything and we surrender to a previous knowledge, or outside the language.”     

   

AURA

Video HD, mono-channel, silent. Length 3' 26".  2014

In medicine "aura" refers to the subjective perception that precedes a condition affecting the brain or points out the beginning of an attack. It may consists of an odor, the feeling of a breeze or other sensations that come before a crisis, which, at this point, becomes unstoppable. In the same way, memory may be re-edited and even it is presaged it becomes unstoppable.  

Algo se avecina, genera la grieta y gana espacio. Nuestras defensas se quiebran. Como el agua, el recuerdo volverá a pasar una y otra vez y en su paso, será siempre sombra y asedio.

MY PERFECT PLAN

Video HD, mono-channel, sounding. Length 1' 52". 2014

This video approaches metaphorically the experience of fear and survival. In a sort of wiping the slate clean operation, it wonders: self-redemption is possible?

Click here for Cristina's Bio in pdf.