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¿NO SE NACE MUJER @ TALLER3120
CURATOR: Virginie Kastel
ARTISTS: Amatoria / Cecilia Barón / Lucila Garza / Melissa García Aguirre / Pilar de la Fuente / Renard / Roble Ana María / Yolanda Leal
Photos by courtesy of Virginie Kastel and El Taller 3120
We’re facing the issue of women again. On the subject of the complications of being a woman, being born or not being born a woman, living as a woman, dying to be a woman, or being born in a woman's body. Each of these variants can be talked about at great length, but for now we will put them aside as I’d like to present a review of the exhibition NO SE NACE MUJER (One is not born a woman) inaugurated last Friday, January 17 at El Taller 3120 .
It’s important to note that the headquarters of the exhibition, El Taller 3120, is probably the least centralized independent art space in Monterrey. I mention it to recognize its convening power and give double credit to the place for attracting not only the usual public, but also the occasional neighbor from the Colonia la Moderna.
The exhibition brings together 8 artists whose work connects to women’s bodies, the condition of being a woman and living as a woman. The artists, all with different careers statements find discourse on the subject of being born in a woman's body, and what that means to each of them.
The first piece I saw as soon as I arrived at El Taller was Melissa García Aguirre's. A video shows the artist breaking through the chains of a safe house that belonged to her father with a handsaw. Had she been born a man, this might have been her house since it was destined to be inherited by the first male child. It is a risky, rebellious and liberating action, accompanied by the handsaw’s insistent and determined sound.
Roble Ana María directs our gaze to a strip club pole. In her performance, she demonstrates the effort and courage a pole dance routine requires, thus empowering those who practice it and acknowledging the bond created between dancers who support each other. The performance pays homage to what the human body achievements and capabilities, regardless of physical appearance.
Cecilia Barón recited erotic-ironic-burlesque poems about Saint Cecilia copulating with God accompanied by an angelic, acid and fantasy. She was fresh and humorous and casual as she presented ideas that could be perceived as offensive or aggressive coming from a woman; not so much if they were coming from a man. The performance got a lot of laughs and posed some afterthought: Did I like these poems? Did they make me uncomfortable? Did they shock me? What are they? Female fantasies? Or do they reflect women’s realities?
Renard presented an installation that included text and action referring to Oedipus. It is a piece that poses how once our mother and father is killed, a necessary suicide is committed. The installation includes a hanging wood log symbolizing the mother’s decapitation, as well as a second one on the floor symbolizing the father’s. A text at the bottom talks about parricide as “vitalist suicide”. Renard / Oedipus walks around with a rope around their neck. By annihilating the masculine and feminine features we are “born” with, Renard asks: What remains after that vitalist suicide? Am I still myself if what mother and father imposed on my identity is uprooted? What is left? Have I purified myself?
In Lucila Garza's piece, we see the painful representation of femicides, and the silence and noise associated with them. An aluminum container from which water falls drop by drop into another container is connected to a microphone that increases each drop’s sound. With this work, the artist reminds us of what is lived and repressed as a woman. The water’s inevitable escape into another escape-less vessel is simple and constant and evokes the duality between the irritating and the beauty of joined voices for those who gone and will not allow such thunderous silence. In a very simple way, the piece presents endless complexities, readings and interpretations.
Yolanda Leal presents impressions of her series "As It Is" (2003) which shows her naked body Tan-Tattoos with symbols and phrases representing consumerism and its impositions on women. The nakedness of her body and the way in which she is photographed is a challenging posture that might make the viewer uncomfortable and challenge his/her stance towards the female body. Yolanda also included a photography set where spectators could take pictures with the “I Know Your Rules” gorilla. This project plays with the relationship between female and male; to have or not to break rules and be wild.
Pilar de la Fuente's piece, “Entierro y Desentierro del Padre” (Father’s Burial and Unearthing) is a performance recorded in video in 2005, but was to be reduced to postcards with action images. The original video in which the artist buries and digs up her father in the desert was lost by whoever had it. What a statement! The work’s theme of lost and forgotten things coincides with its own loss, as well as the government’s own blindness towards femicides!
Artista: Pilar de la Fuente.
Fotos de registro : Antonio Juárez para el festival Performagia II. Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, 2004
Finally, Amatoria's piece, a photograph of the nude artist on the floor of a room, almost seemed as if left behind. The piece was installed within a room with glass walls blocking entry. The dim lighting and the spectator / work separation, makes us think it an intentional gesture; however, this made the task of distinguishing and understanding the piece difficult.
NO SE NACE MUJER (One is not born a woman) points to how being a woman doesn’t always equate to what you live as a woman. It points to the dichotomy of what being and being born a woman means, the identities acquired at birth, the imposed one, the chosen one, and the determination required to live as a woman.
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