Thursday, July 16, 2009

MATINÉ Liliana Porter

Liliana Porter
Ruth Benzacar Galeria De Arte
May 13 to June 19, 2009

Internationally known artist Liliana Porter's extraordinary new exhibition MATINÉ explores powerlessness in all its dimensions, discerning our lack of authorship of our own lives, destinies, beings, and identities. The centerpiece is MATINÉ, a 20 minute video in titled segments, most a minute long and employing toy props, which evokes emotions and sympathies we might rather ignore; at turns excruciatingly, yet disarmingly sentimental (Ver Rojo, Three Of Them), shockingly arbitrary, comic, elegiac, or dishearteningly fatalistic (Convoy, Souvenir De Cuba). Then there´s Choros - melancholy, sentimentally/cosmically nostalgic (it's hard to find words; but the feeling is aspowerful as it is undecipherable). This work obviously comes out of longstanding, deeply held philosophies, and I am amazed at the richness of her imagistic invention. The music by Sylvia Meyer works perfectly, never overstating; like the images, the simplicity only focuses the message.

The still photos, drawings, and assemblages are mostly quite strong. To Go Up is a finely wrought drawing/assemblage depicting a man with ladder problems; To Bring Back, a drawing, mirrors the arduous complexity of our modern world. The assemblages, seen from a distance, reveal their gestural intimations, and up close their narrative detail, mostly regarding a pioneer's bad luck. The photo diptych (from Three Of Them) of the porcelain Chinese woman being covered in poured black paint suggests gender, as well as cosmic, subjugation, in subtle, insistent ways. The pedestal assemblage seems uniquely plaintive: a toy man stands staring up at us, surrounded by a wildly flung splash of black paint. From a distance, his demeanor suggests a stoic acceptance of life´s disasters; close up, his dismay is revealed as universal. We may take comfort, I suppose, in knowing we’re not alone.

Of the DISGUISES, a series of photos displayed downstairs of busts and dolls wearing ambiguous vestements/masks/etc., “Conguro Mono” really stood out for me as a reflection of our desire to project a face to others that we are not. “Marinero/Sombrero” reminds us of the extra weight we carry when we are not “ourselves.” Put yourself into each one of these photos and notice how we aggrandize, distort, or diminish ourselves in so many ways; it’s worth the effort.

Liliana Porter is a master at what she does, which is upending the human claim on destiny and self. I think the veiled indignation of this show will resonate with your own, and the sigh of resignation may afford some relief to your mind. At the very least, the disguises will put a smile on your face.

Nick Thabit
BsAs June 2009

1 comment:

  1. Do we take comfort in knowing we are not alone? Sounds like a show to visit, sin duda.