Between September and November, in many towns along the coast and mountains, the canals are cleaned before the arrival of the rains. In each cultivated valley, the purification of the irrigation canals represents a renovating cleansing and a cultural renaissance of the landscape. This is the result of the millenary design of an extensive geography in the Coast, Andes and Amazonia, which acknowledges and respects the most essential ecology for the life of the regions: the water cycle.

This specific series of works entitled “NO LAND”, seek to rescue ancestral rituals related to sacred places, ancestral geography and original memory. As a result of my own exploration, the work is presented as a syncretic bricolage, in an attempt to reconcile different doctrines, a process of transculturalization and miscegenation: the union of the sacred and the secular. Being a female Latin American artist in an era of multiple encounters and realities.

NO LAND it’s a new work that bring us closer to our cultural identity and strengthen the integration between communities. It is essential to place ourselves at the forefront of adaptation to climate change while upholding sustainability principles, many of which are present in indigenous knowledge of landscapes and their productivity. In this connection, sustainability develops a dynamic social, cultural, environmental and economic balance. 

NO LAND - woven paper from old cartography . 150cm w x 180 cm h x 40 cmd

- Times Survey Atlas of the world 1922
- Lloyds Maritime Atlas Ports Shipping Places of the World 1953
- Atlas Internacional Larousse 1957

 

 

 

 

 

This performative black and white photo print on travertine marble and represent the diversity of coexistent spaces and times, languages and cultures, that can be perceived through the senses, offering a platform where various traditions and attitudes are imagined or even inventes. Works are presented as a syncretic bricolage, in an attempt to reconcile different doctrines, a process of transculturalization: the union of the sacred and the secular. Being a female Latin American artist in an era of multiple encounters and realities.

POSEIDON 46X39 CM

AFAIA 39X30 CM 

HERA 45X39 CM

AIDA 39X42 CM

 THE PERFECT BOUNDARY  40X47 CM

Fissures as methafors of resistance, 2017 
Woven paper , archaeological documentation from Iran and Persia 180x180 cm

FISSURES AS METHAFORS OF RESISTANCE

Contingency issues have always been present in Catalina Swinburn’s work in which the following question is raised: where is the limit of the past and the present. This and other questions are addressed by a body of work from hazy territories, prodigal though blurry zones, the vagueness of which leads us to the realm of the subconscious. It takes us through the borders of the here and beyond, the archaic and the contemporary, into the multiple memory “of permanence” either as myths or reality. She employs the intervention space to delve into personal and collective doubts where her own body establishes boundaries and bonds, claims and hopes. The artist seeks to make us reflect upon the gap between body and territory and upon the inhabiting passage. FISURES AS METHAFORS OF RESISTANCE, its an investigation and reflexion related to the archeaological pieces that were taken from their original place, and traveled to different institutions around the world to be exhibited and shown as a power emblema. Big paper works, done in collaborative workshop exercises, are made with images of ancient pieces related to specific locations, questioning identity through the reconstruction of daily practices and social interactions. Michel Foucault has argued that identity is a form of social construction which people impose on themselves and others (Foucault 1994).

When we broke the filling of a book, we began to exhibit the broken spine, with the paper and thread cuts in sight. In this sense, it emphasizes the moment of a cultural catastrophe, because the destruction of a book is equivalent to the demolition of a building; even more, if we learn that some of the dismantled book contains the first edition of the most acclaimed spiritual classicsby Yogananda : Autobiography of a Yogi, which seals a certain idea of ​​sentimentality that can be seen in the underground web of power. Regenerating these narratives articulates a sense of urgency and a mode of resistance.

Autobiography of a Yogi , woven paper , 234 X 270 cm, 2019

When I am Laid in Earth , 2018, Woven paper from Didos lament in 'Dido and Anaeas’ by Henry Purcell, 280 x 280 cm

Memories That Remain

By: Maisa Al Qassimi

The continuous change of territories and borders has always been a global concern. It produces an inside/outside situation within societies; it creates a new form of expression to ownership and belonging. These struggles have affected the upsurge in refugees and migrants crossing borders today. These are a some of the issues that are explored in Catalina Swinburn’s more recent series The Perfect Boundary, a journey that started in 2015.

Swinburn’s practice investigates through a variety of media such as video, installation, sculptures and photography and the use of materials such as paper and marble. Many of Swinburn’s process starts with performance whether utilising her own body in the work or the act of performance it the artwork’s production. This embodiment and interconnection through time, place and space allowed the artist to express the human experience.

In this series, Swinburn combines the two performative forms by initially creating an object by the act of weaving. The materials used are archival sources from historic books such as atlases, archaeological and music. In The Perfect Boundary, 2016, Swinburn uses pages from an atlas from the 1970s, a documentation of a time where countries once existed and borders have changed. Theses archival pages are then woven into each that continuously modifies the shift of geographical lands. The interlaced sculpture here is worn by the artist in the performance and dragged across lands, creating its partition by recreating borders.

Where was that object in time and place before the performance? Has it taken the shape of my body? What memories will it have? What narratives will it tell and where will it go? These are a few questions Swinburn poses before, during and after each performance. She explains,

“ The paper works have their own life. They become a sculpture, an abandoned body that has a history that traces the form. They gained a history and remind me of stitches of memory that remain. All the cultural catastrophes around the world where cultural sites have been displaced and others destroyed.”

In the work The Sorrows of Absence, 2018 Swinburn uses pages from an archaeological book that has reproductions of historic sites that have been recently destroyed. Through presentation and representation of these images, the artist explores the concerns and effects of the loss of National Identity in these states. Swinburn reconstructs by folding the pages into each other in an attempt to repair what was destroyed. In this way, the sculpture creates a monument that revolutionises its previous history and references the change in their time and place. Swinburn captures the ephemeral conditions of performance with photography and disseminates these images either on marble or stone. In a way, the monumental nature of the work returns and is reformed from the fragile materiality of paper to a symbolic material such as marble or stone to signify its cultural significance.

 The process in which Catalina Swinburn creates her interpersonal work emphasises on the human necessity of the conditions of being, loss and destruction. Regenerating these narratives articulates a sense of urgency and a mode of resistance. With the continuous struggles globally and displacement of human beings, Swinburn expresses hope and freedom to the world and anticipates an openness for cultural dialogue.

the sorrows of absence, 2018,  Woven paper from «Das lied Von
Der Erde» (The Song of the Earth)
 by Gustave Mahler 300X500 cm

alme erranti, aida, 2018 Woven paper old partiture of the opera Aida by Giuseppe Verdi (1871) 130 x 160 cm

RITUALS OF IDENTITY

Justo Pastor Mellado

An entire complex work is not usually analysed on the basis of the singularity of a piece whose image is reproduced in a catalogue. Neither is it common to force the nature of a catalogue in order to recognize in it an editorial expansion of the exhibition space. However, we must be prepared to have a minimum understanding, namely, the ruin of the book as a dismantled monument that preserves the existence of the house of letters.

I suggest that readers consider this catalogue as an “instructions manual” to access Catalina Swinburn’s work. The texts do not necessarily add legibility, but provide us with a cultural distance that can only be understood if we pay attention to certain considerations; in other words, the “ways of doing” in the first place and secondly, the graphic effects on the territory.

With regard to the former, the catalogue reproduces the image of a book in a state of de/composition revealed by the ostensible number of pages that has been ripped off. By tearing the binding of a book, its damaged spine is exposed, with its pieces of paper and the visible threads. It is one of many images and yet, it establishes the legibility of the set of pieces reproduced. In this regard, it underscores a cultural catastrophe, for the destruction of a book is comparable to the demolition of a building, even more so when we learn that the book includes the score of Verdi’s opera “Aida”, which conveys an idea of sentimentality that can be seen in the underlying configurations of power.

The pages - ripped, folded and transformed into coded messages already destined to such a purpose by the folding – mark the line that determines the scope of an enigma.

The origami thus restructures the ruins of the book to prepare them for an unimaginable role, as the singular components of a new object: a blanket, a dress. In the catalogue, the book appears as remains, since it shows the destruction of the binding to give way to the making of a blanket that can be used as a garment or a shroud.

The above leads to the second consideration introduced in the first paragraphs: the graphic effects on the territory. It is clear that the first consideration yields two anticipatory effects: the visible injury (the destruction of the binding) and the folding (marking out and setting the boundaries of the surface). Here the design of the catalogue symbolizes grief with drawings on the sand, cracks on walls, and fences on borders and cemeteries.

We must talk about these photographs: a plan of the house is drawn on the sand, creating a meeting point somewhere between the anecdotal and the encyclopaedic memory, under the threat of being completely swept away (covered) by the waves. The plan is drawn straightaway to show how the return of the repressed works.

In contrast, the photographs of the cracks ostensibly call for realism through controlled reappropriations of traumatic experiences, which are in turn reabsorbed by the art space.

This inevitably reminds me of the 1985 earthquake, which damaged the Fine Arts Museum of Santiago de Chile. Although there were cracks on the walls, the museum never closed, because the specialists in the resilience of materials had concluded that the building had no structural damage. However, the restoration work took so long that the cracks became “part of the building”.

As I accompanied a European curator on a tour of the museum, he asked about the author of this work, which boldly challenged the museum institution by exhibiting its cracks. I hated myself for correcting his error of appreciation. As we never had Greco-Roman ruins, we had to invent, to our convenience, symbolic destruction through commemorative constructions in territories of major migratory conflicts that survive as enclaves of the worst nineteenth century colonialism. This is when the photographs of Egyptian excavations are comparable to those of Darwin cemetery on the Malvinas Islands, which close the Rituals of Identity series. We look at some ruins from the point of view of other ruins, including the ruin of narratives and bodies.

“Aida”, whose pages are ripped off to make portable sarcophagi of the letter, makes the tombstones of the unidentified fallen become archaeological findings of a present that is forcefully acknowledged as the vestige of a damaged memory.

 

Justo Pastor Mellado

Art critic and independent curator.

Director Center for Art Studies (CEdA)

www.justopastormellado.cl

 

36° 49′ 0″ N, 10° 11′ 0″ E , 2018, Woven paper with Atlas index, engraved iron frame
185 x 150 cm

an alternative landscape (the perfect boundary), 2016 Ritual cape
Woven paper, old maps 550 x 350 cm

fissures as methafors of resistance, 2017 Video, 7.03 min

Fissures as methafors of resistance, 2017
Woven paper totems, archaeological documentation from Iran and Persia 230 x 130 cm

DES/COMPOSURE , 2018 Video, 6.48  min 

fissures as methafors of resistance, 2017, performative photo printed over a marble block, 30 x30 cm. 
Woven paper from archaeological documentation from Iran and Persia

the sorrows of absence, 2018, performative photo printed over a marble block, 30 x30 cm.  Woven paper from Das lied Von
Der Erde (The Song of the Earth)
 by Gustave Mahler

 

La Bohême - woven paper with full score of Puccini’s opera - 140x195x56 cm 2018

Darina KMETOVA, Anselma MURSWIEK, Irina OJOVAN, Ulla RAUTER, Anneliese SCHRENK, Catalina SWINBURN, Anastasiya YAROVENKO, LAb[au]Ongoing change of the sky and its scenery provides spectacular variety - just like the presented artists at FRÜHLING [´fry:ling], der: weiblich at Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art Vienna. Seven artists and the collective LAb[au] show not only a wide range of different media but also question and challenge the role of the female artist.

The syntax of the title already tells an irrevocable fact of the history of culture and art: The dominance of the male. Thus thematically beyond spring the show investigates the position of the female artist and is objecting once again existing norms in the art world and its system.

Born 1979 in Chile, Catalina Swinburn lives and works in Buenos Aires and London and is currently presenting her works "La Boheme” 2018 and "Fedora” 2018 at Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art Vienna. These precisely woven paper objects, that are made from the musical scores of the named operas, function as fragile skins. They are created in workshops and are later often used in performances. The participative process of creating these objects, is an essential part of Catalina Swinburn's approach to art.

These skins - with their various folds and contingent aspects - are the place of fissures and traces bearing witness to memory. —Catalina Swinburn

The titles reveal the core of the artwork: The investigation of historiography and its connection to the opera, that generates and conveys certain ideas and social concepts of "identity”.

This Works on paper, considers how archaeological data and music are manipulated for nationalist purposes and it discusses the relationship of archaeology to nation-building and articulation of identity.—Catalina Swinburn

Catalina Swinburn's multi-layered artworks are created at the interface of sculpture, performance, photography and fashion. Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art is excited to present the internationally renowned artist for the first time in Austria

Anauša I- the golden archives -  gold archaeology pieces displaced from Persian & Summer Empires. 150 x 200 cm

Das Lied von der Erde ("The Song of the Earth”) BY Gustav Mahler - from chinese poetry of Li Bai, Meng Haoran, Qian Qi and Wang Wei 240X160 CM

Part of the greatness of Das Lied von der Erde lies in the fact that it broke the boundaries of the traditional symphony and initiated new methods of symphonic composition. This piece fused into one artistic masterpiece many opposite but related concepts: Eastern and Western, ancient and modern, life and death, dream and reality, sadness and joy, gathering and separating, poetry and music, instrumental and vocal. Mahler’s compositional techniques in Das Lied von der Erde, namely Mahler’s application of the Chinese pentatonic scale and orchestration in order to show how he presents his own image of Chinese musical elements. Chinese artistic thinking always emphasizes the universalities relating to the human condition. Mahler adopted a similarly universal perspective when he fused seven Chinese poems into one symphonic piece. His editing and unifying made the text more meaningful and colourful. Das Lied von der it is indeed a brilliant representation of Mahler’s concept of Chinese art and a significant example of cultural and artistic integration.

Anauša II – inmortal warrior - stone  archaeology pieces from old documentation displaced from Persepolis. 150 x 200 cm

Fissures as Methafors of Resistance - stone  archaeology pieces from Persian & Summer Empires. from 260x 280 cm

The perfect boundary series. Old maps. 120 cm x 160 cm each

THE SORROWS OF ABSENCE RITUAL CAPE - WOVEN PAPER 200 cm ancho x 270 x 50 cm 2018

En su obra The Sorrows of Absence (2018) Catalina Swinburn desmantela las páginas de un libro de arqueología que contiene reproducciones de sitios históricos destruidos y/o desplazados.

Swinburn reconstruye las páginas plegándolas entre sí en su intento de reparar lo que se ha destruido. De esta manera, la escultura se convierte en un monumento que revoluciona su propia historia y hace referencia a cambios de tiempo y lugar. Las páginas arrancadas, plegadas y convertidas en mensajes cifrados, ya determinados para dicha función por el doblez, delimitan la línea que fija el alcance de un enigma.

Es así como la papiroflexia recompone las ruinas del libro, para habilitarlas mediante una función impensada, en elemento singularizados de un nuevo objeto: un manto, una capa, un cobertor.  “Las obras en papel tienen vida propia. Se convierten en una escultura, un cuerpo abandonado con una historia que va trazando una forma. Adquieren un pasado; me hacen pensar en las puntadas de un recuerdo que perdura”, dice la artista.

Mediante la presentación y representación de esas imágenes, la artista explora los problemas y las consecuencias de la pérdida de Identidad Nacional en esos estados y enfatiza el momento de una catástrofe cultural, "porque la destrucción de un libro equivale a la demolición de un edificio", como describe Justo Pastor Mellado, en su texto sobre la artista “Rituales de Identidad".

El proceso creativo de la obra interpersonal de Catalina Swinburn pone el énfasis en la necesidad humana de condiciones de existencia, pérdida y destrucción. La regeneración de estos relatos manifiesta un sentido de urgencia y un modo de resistencia, como hallazgos arqueológicos de un presente forzado, a ser reconocido como vestigio de una memoria averiada que se deja ver en la trama subterránea del poder.

NARRATIVES OF DISPLACEMENT

SELMA FERIANI GALLERY

SIDI BOU SAID, TUNIS

2018

EXIBART96

EXIBART96

UNA NUOVA BIENNALE

FISSURES

SELMA FERIANI GALLERY

SIDI BOU SAID, TUNIS

2016

THE PERFECT BOUNDARY

CENTRO CULTURAL MATTA

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA

2016

MIGRACIONES (en el) ARTE CONTEMPORANEO

MUNTREF/ MUSEO DE INMIGRANTES

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA

2015

Here/there… images of uncertainty

The delimitation of territory and the deployment of limits, landmarks, milestones, hedges or fences have always been part of the ways that individuals gathered in societies – whether large or small – adopt to produce an inside-outside situation in order to express ownership, belonging or their opposite.In the words of Zygmunt Bauman, these physical and symbolic barriers are “a declaration of intent” meant to establish positions, define points of view, and to both include and exclude.[1]” Thus, from a certain position, from inside we can see other places and people that are not physically included in our world, even if we have a number of symbolic and imaginary constructions and references about them.

Within certain contexts, this simple observation becomes specifically problematic. Migrations have always been part of the logic of human settlement on the planet since the beginning of time. Likewise, the setting of limits had an early start and the safekeeping of territory, property and people has been the driving force for the creation of all kinds of boundaries ever since. Such boundaries are the setting of Catalina’s works.

This somewhat coarse surface, evenly stained with black dots in some parts and scratched with careless despair in others, turns out to be enigmatic. The great crevice that goes through it horizontally creates a broken line of varying intensities. Further down, something that looks like a shadow repeats that sinuosity almost like an echo. Is it a territory? Is it a distant aerial view of a desert landscape with a dark deep canyon, a legacy of quakes or explosions?

The ambiguity, uncertainty and indefinition expressed by certain images lead the beholder to unexpected horizons and new questions.

Here/there is a binomy of polarities that alludes to the uncertainty where all her works are set. A water surface extends beyond the boundaries of the image. A white boat faintly inhabited by a figure floats adrift. This image, a melancholic evocation, becomes a threatening presence with the irruption of an abyss on that water surface.

The crevice, the leitmotif of several of these images, drastically prevails over them and places them in a new threshold, one that is fractured, disobedient or threatening at times.

The horizon is another key motif of this artist. Just like the crevice, albeit even, serene and tense at the same time, the horizon reminds us of the point of view: here or there.

“Here or there?” is a question that appears in every piece as a litany, the one that guides the slender image of a woman through territories and borders and leads the artist to inquire into those alien spaces that she makes her own by reinventing them.

Photography is one of her resources, though not the only one. She makes use of photomontage, thus upholding the tradition of this technique for the transmission of ideas. The overlapping crevices on various internal and external landscapes are used as a double reference, as a cluster of aggregated and combined meanings that give way to others.

The materials - paper, bronze and stone - are more than a mere support on which images are printed. They are part of the montage offering further elements of meaning through their light fragility, their gloss and brightness, or their rustic roughness.

Probably because Catalina sketches what she defines as “anticipated archaeology”, it is the presence and accumulation of fragments that provides meaning to the whole re-signified in each piece.

“Banished but not silent”. In the standard typography of newspapers, this phrase prevails over the image. It is another montage. The texts – fleeting and “accidental” or complex and illegible at times – are integrated into her works not necessarily to provide illegibility but rather for the opposite reason: to place us in the space of cultural distance, in the eloquent banishment imposed by such a distance.

In her work a diversity of coexistent spaces and times can be perceived, languages and cultures can be sensed, and various inhabiting manners can be imagined. These open zones - crevices where the senses, intuitions and suspicions diverge – help expand the images invented by the artist into the references of each spectator. The invention turns the real into fiction and participates in the montage of images and materials, of performatic actions, and of her own and other specific sites. Here or there? This is the question aroused by the very physical and symbolic material nature of her works.

 

Dr. Diana B. Wechsler

researcher and curator

Deputy Director MUNTREF

Buenos Aires – Argentina

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Zygmunt Bauman, Society under Siege, Blackwell Publishers, 2002, Chapter 3 “To live and to die in the planetary frontiers”.

Uncertain territory

EXTRATERRITORIAL [the perfect border]

 

 

Contingency issues have always been present in Catalina Swinburn’s work in which the following question is raised: where is the limit of the past and the present, of death and the vital drive, of vigil and sleep, of the real and the imaginary, of the game of borders, and of religions? This and other questions are addressed by a body of work from hazy territories, prodigal though blurry zones, the vagueness of which leads us to the realm of the subconscious. It takes us through the borders of the here and beyond, the archaic and the contemporary, into the multiple memory “of permanence” either as myths or reality. She employs the intervention space to delve into personal and collective doubts where her own body establishes boundaries and bonds, claims and hopes. The artist seeks to make us reflect upon the gap between body and territory and upon the inhabiting passage.

Her proposal embodies a game of opposing relationships between technology, the perception of news, the territory as a solid element (marble), and lightness (the bodily shadow). She uses noble materials such as the beautiful and traditional marble, which appears cracked and intervened by a photograph taken with a high tech device (a drone). All of her pieces are ironically presented as a great sublime staging, which, nonetheless, leaves unanswered atavistic questions about territory.

 

Isabel Aninat

Director of the Isabel Aninat Gallery

Migrations (in) contemporary art is an exhibition that seeks to look into the vital contemporary experience based on the concept of “migrating”. Along this line, the exhibition gather works by contemporary artists of different origins whose pieces deal with a diversity of problems strictly related to the topic of migration such as exile, identity, itinerancy and belonging. It also aims to reflect upon the conditions of contemporary art in terms of migration of ideas, means, formats, practices, socio-cultural representations, etc.

Accordingly, the show Migrations (in) contemporary art will attempt to present one of the problem topics of our world and to explore the conditions of contemporary art from the viewpoint of this dynamic and complex concept with the certainty that it will open new frontiers for a new space for reflection upon our vital experiences to be generated by the space of art.

We hope that this exhibition could be a great opportunity to re-think our time, to violate the common sense, to illuminate other way of thinking, to re-locate our artistic practices and to re-create other circuits for the contemporary art.

Leila Alaoui>>Reza Aramesh>>Hugo Aveta>>Gabriele Basilico>>Claudia Casarino>>Fouad Elkoury Harun Farocki>>Regina José Galindo>>Gülsün Karamustafa>>Sigalit Landau>>Alberto Lastreto>>Matilde Marín Angelika Markul>>Gisela Motta + Leandro Lima>>Natacha Nisic>>Khalil Rabah>>Silvia Rivas>>Isabel Rocamora Zineb Sedira>>Catalina Swinburn>>Barthélémy Toguo>

Curaduría Diana B. Wechsler

PLACE: MUNTREF- CENTRO DE ARTE CONTEMPORÁNEO- Sede Hotel de Inmigrantes, Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires

 

RITES OF PASSAGE is a new work that focuses on the concept of boundaries and the ritual of reconstruction. The concept of the work revolves around the reconstruction of memory and identity from a fragmented narrative, presenting the viewer with an alternative landscape.

Through the exploration of different visual media – video, installation, photography, and performance, Catalina Swinburn engages the viewer in a language between a real event and its fictional representation. Emotionally charged images created with metaphoric and symbolic stylistic manipulations powerfully challenge the “reality as representation” the artist is part of. The body of the artist is presented as a metaphor of where representations of difference and identity are inscribed, showing the tensions between the experience of women and cultural meanings that are inscribed on the female body to express social, political and cultural ideas. The actions are photographed and recorded from the sky, using the same technology that constantly nmonitors political borders. This device of high technology distorts the “perspectives of seeing” – a key theme within the artist’s research.

RITES OF PASSAGE distinguishes between "the secular" and "the sacred sphere", the magico-religious separation between the profane and the sacred." In this work the territorial passage, is a crossing of borders into a culturally different region, such as one where a different religion prevail.

RITUALS OF IDENTITY is another exercise within the artist´s individual body of work that focuses on the concept of boundaries and the ritual of reconstruction. The concept of the work revolves around the reconstruction of memory and identity from a fragmented narrative, presenting the viewer with an alternative landscape.

Through the exploration of different visual media – video, installation, photography, and performance, Catalina Swinburn engages the viewer in a language between a real event and its fictional representation. Emotionally charged images created with metaphoric and symbolic stylistic manipulations powerfully challenge the “reality as representation” the artist is part of. She offers an aesthetically poetic visual approach that stimulates the viewer´s capacity to imagine the extent boundaries. The work´s realisation, conceptual in its approach, invests the photographic object with gesture, action, and performance that validate the fictive reality represented by the image. The strong theatrical element and the emotionally charged choreography she interprets and records lead us back to the main debate of disappearances, rituals, and bodies. Her political and ritual expressions are internal to her art, which provides a support for personal and critical reflections about a political and social situation. 

Deconstructing what is portrayed in the media, the artist prints huge fabric images with internal boundary dialogues, which are later transported and located in diverse natural places where the artist realizes actions and rites that activate an imaginary narrative, extracted from its original context and adapted to the new territory. The body of the artist is presented as a metaphor of where representations of difference and identity are inscribed, showing the tensions between the experience of women and cultural meanings that are inscribed on the female body to express social, political and cultural ideas. The actions are photographed and recorded from the sky, using the same technology that constantly monitors political borders. This device of high technology distorts the “perspectives of seeing” – a key theme within the artist’s research.

RITUALS OF IDENTITY is another exercise within the artist´s body of work that focuses on the concept of boundaries and the ritual of reconstruction.  The concept of the work revolves around the reconstruction of memory and identity from a fragmented narrative, presenting the viewer with an alternative landscape.

Through the exploration of different visual media – video, installation, photography, and performance, Catalina Swinburn engages the viewer in a language between a real event and its fictional representation. Emotionally charged images created with metaphoric and symbolic stylistic manipulations powerfully challenge the “reality as representation” the artist is part of. She offers an aesthetically poetic visual approach that stimulates the viewer´s capacity to imagine the extent boundaries. The work´s realisation, conceptual in its approach, invests the photographic object with gesture, action, and performance that validate the fictive reality represented by the image. The strong theatrical element and the emotionally charged choreography she interprets and records lead us back to the main debate of disappearances, rituals, and bodies. Her political and ritual expressions are internal to her art, which provides a support for personal and critical reflections about a political and social situation.

Deconstructing what is portrayed in the media, the artist prints huge fabric images with internal boundary dialogues, which are later transported and located in diverse natural places where the artist realizes actions and rites that activate an imaginary narrative, extracted from its original context and adapted to the new territory. The body of the artist is presented as a metaphor of where representations of difference and identity are inscribed, showing the tensions between the experience of women and cultural meanings that are inscribed on the female body to express social, political and cultural ideas. The actions are photographed and recorded from the sky, using the same technology that constantly monitors political borders. This device of high technology distorts the “perspectives of seeing” – a key theme within the artist’s research. The images obtained from the above mentioned actions are manipulated by the artist like a collage, creating a fictitious universe.

The concept of the border becomes a polysemic reality, since many definitions and ways of understanding the term come to mind, like conceptions or worldviews. A border is a social transfer between two cultures. Restricted to the political sphere, this term refers to a region or strip of land, but in reality it refers to an imaginary concept. Originally the word ‘border’ had a military connotation, since it made reference to ‘the battle front’. Borders are characterized by high security surveillance, in order to avoid en mass immigration, drug entry, excess merchandise, etc. Socio-cultural borders are generic in their extreme abstraction. Regardless of the abstraction and subjectivity that characterizes them, socio-cultural borders manage to stay fixed through the interaction of different communities and other entities that wish to be apart. The consciousness of a community includes the perception of its borders; for its existence these limits do no necessarily have to be marked on land or maps – they are forever in their minds. The border separates “us” from “them” and in defining the other we simultaneously define ourselves (Kavanagh, W; Barcelona, 1994; p. 7). In this sense borders stop being static elements, as Douglas would say – walls that are erected, defend and attack; to create bridges of and in transition, in spaces of cross culture, open to processes of hybridization culture, highly mobile whose borders are diffuse and which allow zones of diverse social, cultural, economic, and political systems to mutually interpenetrate in a special way. (Douglas, William; Barcelona, 1994; p. 45)

The horizon of events refers to a hyper border of space-time, since the events that occur on one side of it cannot affect an observer situated on the other side. This relationship does not have to be symmetric – it’s to say, if A and B are two regions of space-time in which the horizon of events divides the space, A cannot be affected by events in B, but the events in B generally are affected by the events in A. To give a clearer example, the light from one side of the horizon of events will never reach an observer situated on the other side.

The nexus between a border (identity and territory) in this project is linked to the concept of horizons of events, in which its mobility becomes the focus of analysis to understanding the process of construction of the fictional and transportable borders, in which rites, narratives, and the syncretic superimposition of those elements refer to an actual situation where the spectators of this new border, even if they are not actually affected by the events that occurs there, feel that they. In this game of similarities and differences, of inclusion and exclusion, the intention of awaking in the spectators a search to console a social and culturally responsible identity is manifested.

The construction process of the works has diverse stages: the artist selects images from the international press which are related to present themes of borders. These are then printed on cloth in large format, approximately 1.5 x 35 meters, and are then transported and placed in varying natural borders, where the artist acts out rituals; the borders, taken out of their original context, adapt to their new territory.

The action is photographed from above using the same technology that constantly guards political frontiers. This highly complex aerial device slightly distorts the perspective. After this process, the images are worked on by the artist in form of collage and montage, and the image originally printed on the cloth regains its central role but from a new border; thus a fictional universe of mobile and transportable boundaries is created. This unstructured attitude recalls the playful activity which R. Caillois denotes as ilinx: “I refer to ilinx – the Greek name of gurgling water – as every attempt to destroy for an instant the stability of perception and of inflicting on playful consiousness a type of volumptous panic” (Cit. en Mandly, 1989:277). This project unites diverse artistic mediums, such as installation, performance, video, sculpture and photography; articulating a fiction where the central motive is the narration of performance and rituals, epic and nostalgic exploits, which took place on the borders between Argentina and Chile, captured though aerial and land images. These images were intervened through collage and montage with images from the press which related to the theme of Horizons of Border Events. They were then printed on blocks of marble and bronze structures.

This project seeks to recover a traditional way of looking at art, but with a contemporary aesthetic. EVENT HORIZON I is a sustainable project which aspires to a certain level of transcendence. This is expressed in the selection of noble and lasting materials, which also recalls ancient monuments. Rituals constructed on rituals, narratives constructed on narratives, these projects call for a return to art as meaningful ritual. It does this appealing to contemporary methods and codes which highlight the emotional aspect of the work. The aesthetic attitude, or “aesthetic manner of contemplating the world”, understanding in a visual way what Kant aimed to explain in his Critique of Pure Reason (1790) when he described an “endless finality”, is generally opposed to the practical attitude. One has to savour the experience of perceiving the landscape, emphasising its perceptive details, instead of using the object as a medium to achieve something else.

Utilizing once more the recycled meaning characteristic of the work of Collective A&S, they have created the installation ANTICIPATED ARCHAEOLOGY growing from the memory of their performed actions. Over an iron structure of 30 meters stand 52 blocks of marble. Weighing over a ton, these blocks of variable sizes have been intervened with images, fragments, and residues of their past performances. Worked by hand in the contemporary nostalgic style of A&S, this new work is a monument to the transcendence of memory. ANTICIPATED ARCHAEOLOGY narrates an epic and nostalgic feat; this time the process of their work is inverted. In past works the artists constructed installations used as stages on which to realise their performances, and now they have created an installation growing from the performed actions. This project recuperates a traditional look on art, but with the aesthetic and experience of a globalized contemporary world. A&S are interested in tradition, myth, and monument, focusing on sustainable projects that aspire to a certain degree of transcendence. This is expressed in the choice of noble and long-lasting materials - not only does the work seem monumental, but one can also see the forms of production which lay behind it: the investigation, the work, the concept and the history of their performance work. Each of their projects involves a big team, given that they are enterprises of great importance and complexity. The use of a recycled meaning is something characteristic in A&S and is evident in ANTICIPATED ARCHAEOLOGY in the selection of images of performances printed on blocks of marble, which reunites more than 12 years of trajectory. All of their works are governed by a principal which is slightly icono-phobic. This is the reason why their performances are realized in a subtle and awe-inspiring way, retired from a space that requires a limitless profusion from them. The retirement manifests the discomfort of participating in a world – and in a space of art – in which the notion of transcendence has broken.[1] “We need that experience of the religious which art can still give us. That is why we are always trying to give meaning to what we do, reutilizing the fragments of past works. That is the most valid meaning of the theme of memory: constructing a memory of our own work. A memory which belongs to us and which is a place we inhabit, even if the world falls down on us.” Reacting against the consumption of banal images and the post modernist ‘everything goes’, this female double act call for a return to art as meaningful ritual. They do this appealing to ultra contemporary methods and codes, that operate to service a work which is both rigorous and emotional. Installation, performance, sculpture and photography are articulated within a fiction where the central motive is the construction of its own memory, in a context that goes further than the historic, social or political and with a strong emphasis on spirituality, nostalgia, tradition, aesthetics and globalization. Teresa Aninat (1973) and Catalina Swinburn (1979) have been toying with the idea of using medieval shields and simulating a knightly crusade, in which they would be the artist-heroines in the re-conquest of Art, with a capital A. Aninat&Swinburn have been determined to recover the meaning of art, conscious that they compete with a fierce machine of image production designed for quick consumption and waste. “Art, in itself, is an act of faith. It is from that faith that we create art. We aim for our work to function as a catalyst for the faith of the spectators, and through that generate a return to art as significant ritual. The issues that our works establish are generated through the intersection between the sacred and the popular, between the practical and the real, between humour and sentence. We seek for our projects to be a re-conquest, that they generate a reunion of the spiritual experience of art, and in that process, the sacred space is taken back, through some forms which can be understood as rituals, rituals constructed over other rituals, narrations constructed over other narrations.” The work of Teresa Aninat and Catalina Swinburn operates on the unsteady border that is established between cult and artistic practice, through the resource of ritual (performance) and the layout of objects. In the ritual, in the actions of A&S, the material and gestural references are emptied of their prescriptive charge in order to be translated to the terrain of critique of the own art system. The act of reflecting on an image in A&S is a way of elusively tackling the transformation of products of material consumption to products of spiritual consumption.[2] With its own stamp, the work of this collective unwraps itself from its beginnings in a consistent and coherent manner, their suggestive installations are converted in stages, and their works are constituted indistinctly in ritual, exorcism or talisman through which they attempt to revert waywardness and finitude in favour of transcendence and memory.

 

[1] Justo Pastor Mellado, In God I Trust, discussing the work of Aninat&Swinburn, Valparaiso 2012

[2] Justo Pastor Mellado, In God I Trust, discussing the work of Aninat&Swinburn, Valparaiso 2012

For enquires please contact:

thestudio@catalinaswinburnstudio.com 

info@selmaferianigallery.com

contacto@galeriaisabelaninat.cl

AN EXTENSION OF MY VISION

Founded in 2007 and led by the recognized visual artist Catalina Swinburn along with a team of professionals, CATALINASWINBURNstudio turns any creative idea into reality. CATALINASWINBURNstudio balances originality and imagination with professional skills. Throughout the years we have developed a wide range of services to meet the needs of our exceptional clientele, whether that means designing, building, renovating, decorating or furnishing your home, or even managing your property portfolio. These services integrate the skills of our art, architecture, interior design, building and project management divisions to combine world leading art and design with practical strategies for construction and implementation.

If we take as our starting point the words of Jean Clair in “The Paradox of the Curator”, we must agree that after the Second World War, in a world without gods, contemporary art museums have go on to replace the sacred space of the temple. Socially and symbolically, templarity has been replaced by museumism. It is in the museum that the public regains their relationship with the sacred. However, this is an institutional illusion that laicizes the wish for transcendence, placing on the market a space of imaginary repair.

 

This proves to be the substratum on which the work of Teresa Aninat and Catalina Swinburn (A&S) is built, prepared to operate on the unsteady boarder situated between cult and artistic practice, through the use of ritual (performance) and objectual arrangement.

 

Nevertheless, these dispositions are subject to the legality of the script and they settle like correlated actions being carefully regulated. This privilege of the arts - of the image of the script - initiates control of the image of power that will be one of the chief characteristics evident in the work of A&S, an aspect that will go on to consolidate the scene-script, guiding the ritual like the conducting thread of a representation of the fault, for the benefit of a disposition of incarnation.

 

In the ritual, the actions of A&S shed the emblematic gestures of catholic intervention, emptying them of their theological determinations, but keeping their appearance as liturgical complexes that mime the historical repertory of sacred narratives, as if the whole history of painting, that is to say, a certain painting of the renaissance, was not more than an illustration of that said textuality, with its inventory of announcements, compassion, holy shrouds, Veronica cloths, etc. All these material references and gestures empty of their original charge can be translated to the critique of the art system.

 

The position assumed by A&S in their performances is that of intercessors, whose role it is to secure a sort of mimetic tie with the most unfamiliar, in the heart of a monotheist universe that is aimed towards a faultless transcendence: the Creator and his creation. In this sense A&S reproduce the intensity of a true “conflict of the images”, like an erudite recourse in which the discourse that sustains their practice is elaborated without pause. All of their works are commanded by a mildly iconophobic principle. This is the reason that the performances are realized subtle and timid, retired from a space which requires from them a display of unlimited profuseness. This retirement highlights the discomfort of participating in a world – and in an art space – in which the notion of transcendence has been broken.

 

The relationship between the Creator and his creation has been broken. Therefore, in their works, the act of bowing down, in which they are put in the position of the believer, exposes their decision not to look indefinitely at the Icon; that is, the prototype of all icons. The believer only looks once at the model, hoping that it is directed towards that from which it came. As Guy Le Gaufey has shown in “Le Lasso Spéculaire” (Ecole Lacanienne de Psychanalyse, 1998), bowing down, “allows the given look to make its own way; to remount from the icon towards the prototype but above all, even further, from the prototype to the Creator.” This hypothesis assumes that the bow impedes the impossible clash of gazes that nevertheless attempt to be outlined. This figure of reference allows A&S to affirm by its absence the existence of a breakage or rather, the insistence of a failed transcendence, which sustains the conditions of reproduction of the art world. Although in a more decisive manner, above all it points towards the importance of nowadays submitting oneself to the base which configured, in the “Christian west”, the conflict of images (eighth century, Byzantium) and its effectiveness to reconstruct the imaginary Unit of the Word.

 

The previous means articulating a supplementary hypothesis intended to consider the usefulness of St Nicephorus’ Doctrine and the stage of Lacan’s mirror. For my benefit, Le Gaufey himself has sustained in the aforementioned book, that by defining the Christ-icon as a “mirror” it is necessary to think of it as a turned mirror, not reflexively directed toward the believer “but turned, via Incarnate Sons, towards the Father, toward He who since always and for always does not show himself.” 

In one of their works – In God We Trust – initiated in the Museum of Contemporary Art (Santiago, Chile) in 2009, A&S reproduce the statement printed on American dollar bills since 1957. In that work they pieced together a burqa from one hundred dollar bills. The garment, which covers the head, nevertheless leaves the eyes uncovered. What is figurative in this work is the notion of the Holy Face, literalized with maximum rigor. It is necessary to mention some things on the matter: Constantine, on the eve of a battle ordered Christ’s monogram (the letters chi and rho) to be painted on the shields of his soldiers. Then, at the end of the fifth century, another Constantine ordered that all silver coins be engraved with Christ’s monogram, and adding a small cross above the Roman eagle. We are in the confluence of three significantly powerful axels: the power of the image, the power of the relic and the power of the Emperor. Christian iconography adopts with no difficulty imperial art; in the piece In God We Trust, A&S invert the terms of the polemic exhibiting how today’s imperial art effortlessly adopts Christian iconography.

The phrase “in God we trust” has reduced the role and the density of the icon as mediator on behalf of the Father, declaring the only visible paternity in the disposition of the imaginary planetary (of today): the dollar. Thus, the image of the dollar appears like a certificate that accredits the breakage of (all) transcendence. Why resolve to tackle the work of A&S from this perspective, not particularly common in the critique of art? Marcel Gauchet in “Le Dèsenchantement du Monde” sustains that whatever the force of religion, the essence of the transcendental as necessary to thought has been lost. It no longer plays a role that is principally explanatory, neither in contemporary knowledge nor in the politics of nations. However, the elaborate form of thought in that register are still operative, functioning in different metaphysical scenes, but responding to structural necessities in a symbolic space which would not know how to correspond solely to the religious sphere. In this debate, in fact, is the genesis of the relationship between the visible and the invisible, tied to a history of conciliar decisions which establish a solution of compromise in the relationship to the double nature of Christ.

The double nature discards all ideas of progressive “passage” from one to the other. The intercession of Christ does not “bridge” the two natures, but placing itself on the bank of the visible, it expresses the invisible. In this manner, in this text, the insistence placed on the bowing figure aims to direct attention to the role played in the genesis of A&S work, the prototype of the image (critical sign). In consequence, it recovers the infrastructural function of the Holy Face in the diagram of their works, taken as a whole. Hence the whole piece is a work about the statute of the image in the position of the collapse of the notion of transcendence, in contemporary art. But if it is an image, it refers to the image of the body as the only link for understanding the world. But most of all, to understand the world of art which comes about from the incessant effort of understanding, as is sustained by Luis Enrique Pérez Oramas, curator of the XXX Biennial of São Paulo, in the essay “Tangled Alphabets”, which talks about León Ferrari and Mira Schendel in relation to their exhibition in the National Museum Reina Sofia, Madrid, in 2010.

The point is that the reflection of an image, in A&S, is a way of elusively tackling the transformation of products of material consumption into products of spiritual consumption. For this reason I will finish this presentation by resorting to the quotation Pérez Oramas himself uses in the book of Louis Marin about the logic of Port Royal, in which he refers to the Eucharist as

“the place where language, which speaks of the present, transforms and it transforms (…) but transforming itself in the subject of enunciation (…) being the problem, in every case, of recognizing how a body can be sign and true sign, and how on the other hand, a sign can be body and true body.”

 

Justo Pastor Mellado

Valparaíso, April 2012.

 

Prudence (Queen Elizabeth II)

Four Cardinal Virtues series

ANINAT & SWINBURN

Photograph and bronce engraved plaques

Unique piece

165x 134 cm

2012

Justice (George Washington)

Four Cardinal Virtues series

ANINAT & SWINBURN

Photograph and bronce engraved plaques

Unique piece

165x 134 cm

2012

Fortitude (Indigenous people)

Four Cardinal Virtues series

ANINAT & SWINBURN

Photograph and bronce engraved plaques

Unique piece

165x 134 cm

2012

Temperance (King Juan Carlos of Spain)

Four Cardinal Virtues series

ANINAT & SWINBURN

Photograph and bronce engraved plaques

Unique piece

165x 134 cm

2012

Paradise Lost

ANINAT & SWINBURN

Installation, C-print on metallic paper

266.5 x 386.5 (each / diptych)

2011

The seven gifts of the Holly Ghost series

Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, Fear of the Lord.

ANINAT & SWINBURN

Gold plated plaques

19.5 x 15 cm.

2012

Sins & Virtues

Sins and Virtues series

ANINAT & SWINBURN

Gold plated engraved plaques

19.5 x 15 cm. (each / diptych)

2012

30 Bucks for Reconstruction

ANINAT & SWINBURN

Collage (diptych). Spanish playing cards and folded dollar bill

27 x 21.5 (each / diptych)

2011

PORTRAIT REDUXE
ANINAT & SWINBURN
SELMA FERIANI GALLERY, TUNIS
2014

ANTICIPATED ARCHEAOLOGY*
ANINAT & SWINBURN
GALERIA ISABEL ANINAT, SANTIAGO, CHILE
INSTALATION
2013

*AWARDED BEST EXHIBITION 2013, CHILE.

PORTRAIT
PAINFUL TIMES
ANINAT& SWINBURN
SELMA FERIANI GALLERY, LONDON
2013

INDULGENCES
ANINAT & SWINBURN
SELMA FERIANI GALLERY, LONDON
2012

UTOPIA
ANINAT & SWINBURN
MOUNT STREET CHURCH, LONDON
INSTALATION
2012

LOST PARADISE
ANINAT & SWINBURN
COLLAHUSI FOUNDATION, IQUIQUE, CHILE
INSTALATION
2011

CON-TEXTO
ART OF TELLING TALES
ANINAT & SWINBURN
ARTNEXUS SPACE, BOGOTA, COLOMBIA
2011

HE WHO DOES NOT RISK, DOES NOT CROSS THE RIVER
ANINAT & SWINBURN
ABOUT CHANGE, WORLD BANK, WASHINGTON, USA
PERFORMATIVE PHOTOGRAPH
2008

IN GOD WE TRUST
ANINAT & SWINBURN
DANGEROUS LIASONS CURATED BY SEBASTIEN GOKALP
MONNAIE DU PARIS, FRANCE
2011

LUXURIOUS SILENCE
ANINAT & SWINBURN
GALERIA CECILIA GONZALEZ, LIMA, PERU
PERFORMATIVE PHOTOGRAPH – INSTALATION
2011

IN GOD WE TRUST
ANINAT & SWINBURN
BOLSA DE ARTE, BRASIL
INSTALATION
2009

PAINFUL TIMES
ANINAT & SWINBURN
GALERIA ISABEL ANINAT, SANTIAGO, CHILE
INSTALATION – PHOTOGRAPH
2010

STATUS QUO
ANINAT & SWINBURN
CCU, SANTIAGO, CHILE
INSTALATION – PERFORMANCE
2010

IN GOD WE TRUST
ANINAT & SWINBURN
MUSEO DE ARTE CONTEMPOREANEO, CHILE
INSTALATION
2009

PERIODICAL PRAYERS
ANINAT & SWINBURN
PERFORMATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY
2009

NOVUM MEMORAE
CENTRO DE EXTENSION UCC
ANINAT & SWINBURN
SANTIAGO, CHILE
INSTALATION, PHOTOGRAPHY, VIDEO
2008

NOVUM MEMORAE
ANINAT & SWINBURN
CENTRO DE EXTENSION UCC
SANTIAGO, CHILE
INSTALATION, PHOTOGRAPHY, VIDEO
2008

COMMON PLACES
PUBLIC SPACE PROYECT-VITACURA
ANINAT & SWINBURN
SANTIAGO, CHILE
INSTALATION
2008

THERE IS NO WORSE BLIND MAN THAN HE WHO WISHES NOT TO SEE
ANINAT & SWINBURN
GALERIA ISABEL ANINAT, SANTIAGO, CHILE
PERFORMATIVE PHOTOGRAPH
2008

SINCE 11.09
ANINAT & SWINBURN
MUSEO DE ARTE VISUALES, SANTIAGO, CHILE
INSTALATION
2007

ALTAR OF SACRIFICE
ANINAT & SWINBURN
MUSEO DE ARTE CONTEMPORANEO, SANTIAGO, CHILE
INSTALATION
2007

IN CONTEMPLATIO
ANINAT & SWINBURN
GALERIA 5006, BUENOS AIRES
PERFORMATIVE PHOTOGRAPH
2006

OBITUARY
ANINAT & SWINBURN
GALERIA ANIMAL, SANTIAGO, CHILE
INSTALATION – PERFORMANCE
2004

IN MEMORIAM
ANINAT & SWINBURN
GALERIA ANIMAL, SANTIAGO, CHILE
PERFORMANCE
2004

OPERACIÓN LIMITE AMBULATORIO*
ANINAT & SWINBURN
CONCURSO DELTA AIRLINES
PERFORMANCE – VIDOE INSTALATION
2005

*WINNER OF DELTA AIRLINES CONTEST

COLLECTION PIECES
ANINAT & SWINBURN
GALERIA ISABEL ANINAT, SANTIAGO, CHILE
INSTALATION
2005

IN MEMORIAM 12.05.04 – 05.06.04
ANINAT & SWINBURN
GALERIA VALENZUELA & KLENNER, BOGOTA, COLOMBIA
PERFORMANCE
2004

IN MEMORY
ANINAT & SWINBURN
GALERIA ANIMAL
INSTALATION – PERFORMANCE
2002

VEILED MEMORY
ANINAT & SWINBURN
GALERIA ANIMAL, SANTIAGO, CHILE
INSTALATION -PERFORMANCE
2002

NON SITE – EN MEMORIAM 13.11.02 – 07.12.02
ANINAT & SWINBURN
CORPORACION CULTURAL DE LAS CONDES, SANTIAGO, CHILE
INSTALATION
2003

FRAGMENTS OF THE PAST
ANINAT & SWINBURN
GALERIA ANIMAL, SANTIAGO, CHILE
INSTALATION
2003

MEMORY IN TRANSIT
ANINAT & SWINBURN
FUNDACION TELEFONICA, SANTIAGO, CHILE
INSTALATION
2002

IN MEMORY
ANINAT & SWINBURN
KENT INSTALATIONS, SANTIAGO, CHILE
INSTALATION
2002

"The King's good servant, but God's first." 

Utopía is an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system. The word was coined in Greek by Sir Thomas More, main statue in this altar, for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt to create an ideal society, and fictional societies portrayed in literature. It has spawned other concepts, most prominently dystopia. The word comes from the Greek: δυσ ("not") and τόπος ("place") and means "no place". The English homophone eutopia, derived from the Greek εὖ ("good" or "well") and τόπος ("place"), means "good place". This, due to the identical pronunciation of "utopia" and "eutopia", gives rise to a double meaning.

The work SINS&VIRTUES, is a way of contemplation, of discovering the path trough which we can make our own search for a good way of living. Commonly we think that a puzzle is a form of entertainment, that its successful resolution can be a significant contribution for us. But a puzzle is also a problem or an enigma that tests the ingenuity of the solver, who is intended to put together pieces in a logical way in order to come up with the desired solution.

St Thomas More (7 February 1478 – 6 July 1535), is perhaps best remembered as the great English statesman, humanist and scholar who refused to submit to Henry VIII and compromise his belief in the spiritual supremacy of the Pope, and consequently suffered death. More saw no incompatibility between his service to Henry and his loyalty to the Church. Indeed for many years, while he exercised high offices of state, he stood out as the great defender of the Church against heresy. However, with the capitulation of the hierarchy in 1532, More realised that he could no longer continue as Lord Chancellor if he were to remain faithful to his conscience. He may have been Henry's 'good servant', but there was no doubt that when confronted with the great challenge of his life, his first loyalty was unwaveringly to God. More's imprisonment, his subsequent trial and execution — eloquent testimony to his love for the Church and loyalty to his conscience — are events that have never failed to inspire and to encourage a more generous commitment to the Faith. Most major humanists were prolific writers, and Thomas More was no exception. The political system of which he described in “Utopia” (1516) contrasts the contentious social life of European states with the perfect orderly, reasonable social arrangements of Utopia and its environs (Tallstoria, Nolandia, and Aircastle). In Utopia, with communal ownership of land, private property does not exist, men and women are educated alike, and there is almost complete religious tolerance. Some take the novel's principal message to be the social need for order and discipline rather than liberty. The country of Utopia tolerates different religious practices but does not tolerate atheists. Hythlodeaus theorises that if a man did not believe in a god or in an afterlife he could never be trusted, because he would not acknowledge any authority or principle outside himself. Although Utopia is more than four hundred years old, More’s ideals are not vanquished; they still lie before mankind. In Utopia, More invented a series of symbols to replace (or encrypt) the letters of the Roman alphabet. Although he did not create a unique language for the Utopians, he imagined that they would write in an exclusive, coded script. Like the island setting, this measure would provide the Utopians with greater self-containment and set them apart from the outside world. Here is the relation between Aninat&Swinburn´s work presented on his altar. Cryptography (or cryptology, "hidden, secret";, "writing", "study", respectively), is the practice and study of techniques for secure communication in the presence of third parties (called adversaries). Encryption was used to ensure secrecy in communications, such as those of spies, military leaders, and diplomats. In recent decades, the field has expanded beyond confidentiality concerns to include techniques for message integrity checking, sender/receiver identity authentication, digital signatures, interactive proofs and secure computation, among others. The Protestant Reformation took place during More´s life and encrypted messages were used in texts, letters, books, and plays. In "Shadowplay: The Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare" (Public Affairs, 2005), Clare Asquith, an independent scholar, provides a key argument: Shakespeare encrypted Catholic propaganda in his plays and poems. Every time Shakespeare writes "high" and "fair," he means Catholic; by "low" and "dark," he means Protestant. A "tempest" refers to the Protestant Reformation, which Catholics saw as a frightening upheaval in their world.

The inscription of restraint in the base are the keystones for the solution, and have a double meaning for the inquiry to find each sin and contrary virtue. The process of inquiry and discovery to solve the enigma may be followed by different paths, times, ways of looking, of searching by those who are in a state of devotion and contemplation, as the silence of the church or a library gives. Certain skills and virtues as patience, faith, knowledge and purpose are necessary for those who desire resolution. SINS&VIRTUES is a project that reminds us something familiar, usual, but disquietingly alludes to the daily puzzle commonly seen in newspapers and magazines, with the materiality of the Stone. The question or the enigma that SINS&VIRTUES proposes is the search for the Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Virtues, which are meant to educate and instruct. Yet, the puzzle is that some of the practices and institutions, such as the ease of religious toleration, the good and the bad, the permitted and the prohibited, seem to be polar opposites of today’s beliefs.

Teresa Aninat and Catalina Swinburn, two outstanding Chilean artists of prolific project development, exhibited their art works in Fundacion Collahuasi, Iquique, presenting disciplines such as installation, performance, photography and sculpture. Through these works they articulate a coherent and significant script of past and present creations that are linked together by the theme of ‘memory’. They form a context that goes beyond historical, social, religious or political conflicts, laying strong emphasis on spirituality, nostalgia, tradition, aesthetics and globalization.

For their exhibition PARADISE LOST, the artists present a complex exposition that connects diverse mediums - photography, text, sculpture, installation and sound - and associates them with the concept of the expulsion of man from paradise at the beginning of our existence, and with the initiation of our eternal search for happiness and fortune. 

‘Paradise Lost’, an epic poem written by John Milton, is the starting point of reflection presented by Aninat & Swinburn. This book forms the basis of the concept portrayed in the main room of the exhibition, which leads on to another four rooms in which the four cardinal virtues - Temperance, Prudence, Fortitude and Justice - are alluded to. Each of these rooms reveals a virtue alongside a sin, and refers to the syncretism of a theme which makes reference to man’s constant search for the lost paradise.

The controversial themes that are established in the works of Aninat & Swinburn are generated through the intersection between the sacred and the popular, the practical and the real, humour and sentence. The works are exposed as a syncretic discourse, where different traditions meet, search to re-conciliate differing doctrines, and realize a process of trans-culturalization and racial merging, where the union of the sacred and pagan allow the spectator to identify themselves with the work of art and become a participant of multiple meetings and realities. The unions generated by the works, the fusions that come about and the assimilation of differing elements and materials used - such as Spanish playing cards, fortune wheels, chocolate coins, the planisphere, engraved stones, books, texts and fragments of newspapers – do not portray a substantial coherence to one another. The symbiosis that is produced in the works exposed gives birth to a new unique identity, a new interpretation, a new created element, a new object, but still maintains a different cult status.

When man lost paradise he began his search for complete happiness; each town and each time has searched for it through different beliefs and rituals, has attempted to guess their destiny, has asked for protection, good luck and fortune, and to know the future. ‘Paradise Lost’, John Milton (1608 – 1674), is the most complete and important epic poem in the English language. Made up of twelve verses, the central theme is Adam and Eve’s fall from grace. After eating the forbidden fruit, Eve calls for Adam to try some. When God realizes the sinful disobedience of his creatures, the pair is expulsed from Paradise. Before their definitive expulsion, God explains what the future and destiny of humanity will hold, dominated by struggle and suffering because of their original sin, and he shows them the world in which they and their decedents will live. The video that incessantly exhibits the transformation of the book faces the double writing desk on which ‘Paradise Lost’ stands; one side of the desk is covered with an acrylic stone that is engraved in low relief with the phrase PRUDENCETEMPERANCEFORTITUEJUSTICE, which questions the forced and almost school-like necessity of following rules in order to enjoy a good destiny, in life as well as in death.

 

ROOM 1:

PRUDENCE

Prudence is the virtue of acting in a just, adequate and cautious manner. It is also understood to be a way of communicating with others through the use of clear, literal language - a virtue that acts respecting the feelings, life, and freedom of others.

The meaning of the word ‘Iquique’ is just as varied. Local investigators refer to its Aymaran origin; its meaning of ‘dream’ and ‘bed’ refers to the fact that the inhabitants of the mountains suffered the consequences of the differing heights of the village and the port, which made them fall asleep. Others, basing themselves on the highland language, affirm that that name of the port means ‘act of dreaming or resting’, a metaphor inspired by the great amount of sea wolves and birds that laid themselves down on the rocky coast.

In its conception, Status quo, the installation realized by the artists in 2010, dealt with the constitution of Memory and the consignation of certain essential social acts, and by consequence cultural and political acts; by doing so we were able to approximate their origins and causes. If the construction process of the work is different from previous works, once again the duo Aninat & Swinburn use installation to create a stage where the performance takes place at the opening of the show. The script of the performance is dictated by the materiality of the work. Closing the temple-room, impeding spectator access, the artists built in the interior, where tones of shredded newspaper filled the space - a shelter, a lair, a refuge, a den - where they sat motionless. Assimilating a lair, this space, inhabited for the first time by the artists, activated the space as a container of dreams, in which the work became an evocative piece, inviting the viewer to deposit their memories and events, past or present. The performance, HIDDEN MEANING, designates the acts of sleeping as much as one wishes to do so. For the act of dreaming, the word ‘fantasy’ exists, even though generic phrases are also used (have a dream = to dream). The correspondent adjective to fantasy-dream is dreamy. Fantasy – which grants the sleepers wishes – also refers to any longing or illusion that motivates a person.

 

ROOM 2:

TEMPERANCE

Temperance is the virtue that regulates the attraction for pleasures, and produces the balance between the use and enjoyment of the goods obtained. It assures the dominance of will power over instincts and maintains desires within the limits of honesty.

 Superstitions, which are not fundamentally planted in the human being, can be based on popular traditions, normally related to magical imaginings. Superstitious people think that certain actions (voluntary or not), such as prayers, incarnations, spells or other rituals influence their life in a transcendental manner. Magical thoughts are a way of thinking that is based in faith, imagination, desire, emotion or tradition. What distinguishes superstitions from wisdom is their relationship between the occurrences that take place due to supernatural forces such as destiny. 

The Ekeko is an idol to which is said to have the power of bringing fortune, abundance and joy to its owner. Its origin is pre-Colombian and it relates back to ancient cultures that began on the Andes. The actual Ekeko conserves its original position as the god of abundance, but exercises his powers in relation to monetary and mercantile values that are perfectly accommodated in contemporary society. Considering the concept of Ekeko, and of the miniature objects that are attached to it for good luck and abundance, the objects that reflect the desires of the family members that venerate it, this room presents the contradiction; on the one hand it reflects the economic and commercial aspect that motivates an important social sector, the multiplying effects, and on the other hand, the cultural-religious phenomenon that motivates peoples feelings of faith and hope of possession is present. The works shown in this room, relating to this phenomenon, connect the spectators with the present generations and with the religious ancestral sentiments of the ancient cultures, whose expressions have endured up to the present time.

 

ROOM 3:

FORTITUDE 

Fortitude is a moral virtue that gives the soul strength to face with courage and vigour the risks, moderating the force of audacity, always keeping on the straight and narrow road to reason in every task.

Fortune was, in Roman mythology, the goddess of luck, good and bad, even though she is generally associated with the good – the extravagant – and fertility. Her allegory tended to be the wheel of fortune, a type of roulette that referred to luck or to the randomness of good or bad luck. Assembled out of playing cards that show the number ‘two’, a wheel of fortune has been reconstructed in order to signify a target; in front of the wheel lie virtuous weapons, encouraging the viewer to throw the first stone in search of their fortune, or likewise, to defend themselves against the bad that might come. According to the cosmogony, the number two represents duality. It alludes to a pair of opposites (day and night, cold and hot, man and woman, etc.) since unity has been divided and one is against the other. The number two is the first number that breaks with divine unity, and where malice and betrayal form its shadow. It implies the spark of creation, the germ of life. The presence of the artists in the work, portrayed as modern Artemises before the blank target (Hellenistic goddess of hunting, wild animals, virgin territory, birth, virginity, and young women; she brought and healed sickness and was represented as a huntress who carried a bow and arrow); their pose suggestively unveils diverse themes that question the destiny of social classes, politics, religion, war, and a woman’s relationship to all of them.

The baraja deck consists of forty-eight Spanish playing cards, divided into four suits and numbered from one to twelve. The four suits are: coins, cups, clubs and swords. These cards form the basis of the cards used in Tarot and the ‘major arcanans’ are the ones which are generally used for divination. Their origin is Arabic. In ancient times, they did not have jokers and the set consisted of fourteen cards of each suit, ten numbers and four figures, including a queen. The queen was eliminated due to the sexism of the time, and when the pack of thirteen cards per suit was not successful, the number ten was eliminated; therefore the pack consisted of nine numbers and three figures which make twelve cards in total. In the society of the time each suit had a certain meaning. The bourgeois (the rich) were represented by the coins, the clergy were represented by the cups (chalice), the swords stood for the army and the clubs represented the plebs (the poor that were related to nature, cultivating land). There are also links to the French baraja. The clubs are the leaves of the spades, the diamonds represent richness like the coins, the spades are the tips of the lance and the heart of Jesus relates to the chalice.

 

ROOM 4:

JUSTICE 

Justice is the virtue that establishes itself when it is joined to a set of rules that form an adequate frame in which relationships between people and institutions, authorizing, prohibiting and permitting specific actions can take place. 

The works in the exhibition are dissolved within the cultural scope like barren territory which identity stumbles through, discerning death as the end and the loss of memory as the only outcome. In these scenes, the works of Aninat & Swinburn are indistinctly made up of rituals or spells through which they try to find their way and swap their loss in favour of significance and memory. A ritual is a series of actions that are primarily carried out for their symbolic value. They are actions that are based in some sort of belief, be it religious or due to a political ideology, a sporting act, tradition, memories, historicism of a community, to name a few. Magic is a conjunction of rituals whose objective is to control the attributes of universal spirits and supernatural entities. The act of magic allows for direct communication, evocation, or indirect, invocation, with one or various deities or forces that have power over the laws of nature. Spirits called during rituals are obliged to fulfil the wishes of the magician, but only if the magician know the spirits name and attributes or, likewise, if their characteristics are described. These characteristics can be called on by the pronouncement of the spirits name or equally by writing it down.

Selecting prayers, advertisements, titles and phrases from the most renowned newspapers of the world and using a technique of deconstruction that tends to reveal the symbolic, political, religious and social meanings that are codified in the media, the artists have created, like magicians, a magical altarpiece. It contains evocation, invocations and performative images, portrayed as rituals, where the images stimulate the magician into portraying what the signs and formulas recorded describe. In this case the ritual is made up of prayers and formulas, where the entity is presented and praised, it is reminded of its duty and it is asked to consider the magicians desired effect that has been constructed according to the indications given by the entity. Rituals tend to have two variants for the magician to contact the spirit, and usually both methods are used at the same time; one way of communication is the calling of the spirit aloud, the other is by engravings. The artists invite us, through magic and their engravings on the altarpiece presented on a mirror, hence dealing with the idea of duplicity and of the separated image, to invoke and increase our receptivity towards everyday rituals that interplay with the media, which becomes a crucial manner of diffusing ideologies. The totality that can be seen is deceptive, an illusion of a complete object that is nothing more than a mirror image, an imaginative figure, deceptive, multiple and inverse.

 For Status Quo we selected prayers, headlines, titles, and phrases from the worlds most important newspapers, with the intention of generating consciousness about “the state of the actual moment”: Status Quo. These prayers become, as is expressed in the word “prayers”, in moments of devotion and in moments of meditation and contemplation, part of the sea of information that we are faced with today. The pillow is the support that articulates the installation, as much as in the formal and material sense as in its concept in relation to the work it contains. In the interior of this house of dreams, built by hundreds of pillows, printed with images of our united hands in a position of offering, the paper shredder incessantly destroys and crushes our actual reality; a female hand, rescues and redeems certain phrases and titles from diverse papers, creating a new narrative - our own narrative about the state of the actual moment: Status Quo. United by safety pins, filled with shredded newspaper, and hung by an imposed rigid structure, these pillows that conform and sustain the work, allow the contemplation of a scene from varying points of view. We can also see the holes and stitching that mark their construction and their links to the outside world.

This installation reunites diverse mediums: photo, text, sculpture, sound and video - it is multidisciplinary. Together with an essentially visual procedure we began to introduce, from the beginning, the verbal language, the oral word or the written text - for our projects is a way of conceptualizing, de-conceptualizing and re-conceptualizing the inexhaustible sources of language disposable from our own message. In this particular work, the extractions of newspapers are affected by subjective interpretational factors of media information and question the objectivity of journalism. These penetrating repertoires full of connotations referring to today’s themes reflect on the politics of subjectivity and respond to the need of emptying the models of their acquired meanings, and present them as open structures or spaces with the possibility of being recreated once again.

In Status Quo; we use a technique of deconstruction that tends to reveal symbolic and political meaning, as well as the religious and social meaning that is codified in the mass media, creating “archetypes of social spaces” – cemeteries, houses, walls, churches, monuments – that play together with the media, a key role in the stimulation and diffusion of ideologies. Status Quo produces a dreamlike sanctuary of power. This work constitutes an object of thought and seduction, of dreams and realities of past times and future ones. It seeks to give art a cognitive and critical dimension. It awakens the conscience and stimulates our sense of justice and our critical spirit; an art that alerts, that awakens our conscience.

In its conception, Status quo remounts the constitution of memory by following the consignation of certain essentially social acts, and in cultural and political consequence, we try to move closer to its origins and its causes. While the construction process of the work is different from previous works, once again the duo of Aninat&Swinburn utilize the installation created as a stage, in which they act out a performance on the day that the piece is inaugurated. The script of the performance is dictated by the materiality of the work. Closing the dwelling-temple, impeding access to the spectators, the artists tied to its interior, in which tonnes of shredded newspaper filled the space - a shelter, hideout, refuge, den - in which they were immobile. Assimilating a lair, this space, inhabited for the first time by the artists, in the interior of the installation, activated the space as a container of dreams, in which the work researching its origins, once again becomes an evocative piece by inviting the spectator to deposit their memory, recent events, present or past, into it. The performance CONTENIDO LATENTE; represents the acts of dreaming as much as the will to do so. For the act of dreaming exists the specific term of fantasy, although generic terms are used also (to have a dream = dream). The adjective corresponding to fantasy-dream is dreamlike. By analogy of dreams – that often fulfil the dreamer’s fantasies – any longing or illusion that motivates that person is called on. To dream, which is an act of sleeping, is a uniform state of repose of an organism. In contraposition to the state of wakefulness, when our being is awake, dreams are characterized by the low levels of psychological activity (blood pressure, breathing, heartbeat) and by fewer external stimulants. The content is the real meaning of the dream. The acted performance turns the work into a space of continuous wakefulness; initially activated by the artists who stirred, awake and open the doors of the installation, allowing the spectators to pass and who complete the transformation of the sleeplessness. Is this not the living mausoleum of a broken society condemned to insomnia for the rest of time because of its incapacity to accept the acts that it instructs and implies, phrase by phrase, an endless epitaph? “This challenged capacity not only respects the events itself but also our antiquated abstention of them, is what gives Status quo a proactive dimension, that surges from the restless charge of urgency of its authors by radically elucidating the processes of memory and forgetfulness, this time isolating the past and the future in order to find the key to the future.”

 *Quotes from the texts “Exquisite Corpse”, by Mario Fonseca; Catalouge STATU QUO; CCU, 2010.

 

Luxurious Silence is a photographic diptych which shows a selection of newspaper clippings, where the viewer gains consciousness about the present and is able to critique the notion of printed media. These prayers become, much like the word ‘prayers’, moments of devotion, meditation and contemplation within the sea of information that we are nowadays faced with. Two artists appear behind a blanket made up of prayers, statements, titles and phrases from the most important newspapers across the world, which, joined by safety pins, resembles a burka, the traditional clothing worn by women in Muslim countries, which covers their whole face; only the eyes are revealed through a slit in the cloth. Looking out from behind this blanket the artists are shown with open and closed eyes; they express the difficulty that comes from not seeing clearly, evoking the body of the victim and the victimizer, and recall the different happenings that have changed our behaviour since that moment. This visual confrontation is, in someway or another, censored. The artist’s eyes are situated behind a space formed by newspaper clippings, a crack united by safety pins that allow the artists to see. These safety pins join the clippings, as well as different temporalities and happenings, places of memory which highlight its own frailty.