[Danger of life]
Solo Project, ArteSantander. July 2017.


We understand time as a straight line guaranteeing order, history and capital. Conceiving time in other terms requires a disruption in narrative. The present project brings together a series of works in which the hegemonic story of linearity is interrupted. Thus, in the presence of these works, we discover a present that has been expanded in the recesses of human endeavour and its fractures.

In the foreground there is a huge table occupying the central space of the stand. It is covered with sand and, above it, the second hands of some clocks draw the dance of its circumference. Second after second, they advance in a circular, paused, continuous line. Eternal, for it has no apparent beginning or end. Like trembling insects with elongated legs, they mark their footprint on the surface of the fine sand. They show us the course of life with a minimal gesture. It only takes one breath to make the trace disappear; for us to disappear.

These clocks order time in turn, not in a straight line through which we advance, but in a circular way that is organized by cycles of repetition, either in days, months or years, which guide our daily tasks. Routines that articulate our path. We hear the steps of seconds. They remind us that time does not stand still. Every second sounds and resonates to be unrecoverable.

The work [Traces] could well be a symbolic field of contingency, where the vita activa* is reflected in its triple aspect: its routine, its desire to transcend and, at the same time, the confirmation of its irrelevance, because what is more perishable than an inscription on the sand, however persistently it is drawn throughout life?

The term trace is used in certain clinical analyses to refer to the degree of presence of the element analysed when it tends to be irrelevant or practically imperceptible. The paradox is thus evident and terribly poetic: the result of the trace is used to point out the unappreciable nature of the trace.

Lightning Field

In 1977 Walter De Maria produced one of his most emblematic works and a milestone in the current of Land Art: The Lightning Field, installed in a desert site in New Mexico. In a vast expanse of open field, polished stainless steel poles were placed in a regular and calculated manner. The mere sight of that order already implies an organization imposed on the landscape. The slenderness of these poles also subtly called for the attraction of lightning during the usual storms of the place.

Land Art thus prefigured its maximum expression in the occupation, transformation and control of nature and the landscape. Likewise, atmospheric phenomena entered into the radius of intervention in the installation. With this entrance, between calculated and fortuitous, a concentrated look at the horizon is imposed. One is invited to admire a shower of lightning. Fulgurations that tend to provoke feelings of finitude, of shock in the face of the great. A field of lightning is an invitation to shudder. Beyond that, a field of lightning as much as a field of scattered clocks transfigures our insignificance into deliberate endurance. The urgent necessity to live by tracing appears nevertheless.

Behind the clock table a lightning bolt appears. A bolt of asymmetrical structure and broken voice. A large glass case holds fragments of text, taken from a book. The route of the text does not follow the linearity of a narrative, but is segmented into steps of a staircase that descends through the space of the page. A silhouette is then cut out in an organic, fractal form, which projects and forks into multiple paths.

Peligro de vida. [Danger of life]. Text ladder.  150 x 100 x 4 cm. 2017.

An electric shock runs through the saying and turns it on. The lightning has passed through the reading of the book. That is, the shudder fluctuates from the self to the text, and vice versa.

The order and content is altered. From some pages that refer to the war machine, its logic and strategies, a life story is extracted. Lightning is also a root that goes deep into the earth, determined by the search for water. It is no longer a trace, but a persistence in words and their capacity to shake, encourage, root, irradiate...

To one side we find a subtle intervention on the wall, practically imperceptible. From the wall a second hand appears. The hand does not advance. It oscillates permanently between the previous second and the next one, showing a singular form of exhaustion: it seems as if time cannot go on, as if the passing by stranded in a continuous and trembling present. The second hand shows how human it is to lose one's breath when continuing the journey.

The second hand generates a deep feeling of anguish in its impossibility to advance. It brings awareness to those mechanisms that do not, cannot, follow the rhythm of the impulse; rather, they burden the movement. It is a heartbreaking metaphor of those hearts that do not respond anymore, that do not have enough strength to continue to try.

A diptych completes the set with an everyday object: a picture frame. Although there is no image in it. It is not possible to see any portrait or landscape. Instead, a whitish, dry, cracked mass occupies the place of memory. A portion of earth is compressed between two crystals closed on themselves. Through them, a fractured surface can be perceived. It corresponds to the irregular relief of memories that may erode and crack. That which should be a precious and subtle pearly fine porcelain - an urn to life restored - remains in austere clay, in ashes... perhaps it is a vestige of past impregnated with oblivion. At its side, a flash of lightning breaks through the impenetrable wall of indifference. A beam of light slips through the cracks in the wall to impress in an image of trembling.

Under dry, unfired, broken and cracked porcelain plates, some photosensitive papers are placed. A beam of light strikes them through the cracks. These papers, when developed, leave a trace of black burning. The map of the cracks is impressed on them in dark, while the rest of the surface remains white. The immaculate white of the unpronounceable is still there, immovable, with no exposure to the light of history. The only dissonance is the tangle of fractures that have left their mark. The lightning goes underground and shakes the stillness of an unfinished history and a partial law that does not promote the reparation of dignity to victims still buried under layers and layers of injustice.

The challenge is to disarticulate the hegemonic stories and the polished surfaces in order to enter the unique matrices of the line as a measure of life.

*A term used by Hannah Arendt in her monumental book The Human Condition, with which she designates and distinguishes three fundamental human activities as labor, oeuvre and action: "Labor not only ensures individual survival, but also specific survival. The work and its product, the human artifact, gives the measure of permanence and durability to the futility of mortal life as well as the ephemeral character of human time. Action (...) creates the condition for memory, that is, for history. (...) action is the political activity par excellence."