marina vargas 7 oros - le bastart

Marina Vargas, body as container

Historians generally place the beginnings of art in the search of mimesis, the copy of the same, that Pliny the Elder exemplified by the story of a girl drawing the silhouette of her lover on the wall to retain his image. But the cave painting reveals that primitive man and woman barely-represented themselves, and when they did it was in merger with other animals (therians) or in a extremely fragmentary form.

marina vargas - diadumeno - le bastart
Diadumeno (Prima Materia). Nor animal neither angel. 2015 (CAC Málaga)

So, as Bataille observed, we don’t come from Narcissus but the Minotaur, our original image not has to be found in the ideal reflected in the lake but in the monster within us. Only through the relationship with the animal organism we become both human and animal, writes Husserl, and only then we reach a place in space and time of nature.

The interest in reconquering the natural and symbolic space-time for human being is manifested in the work of Marina Vargas: when she split harmonic Greco-Roman anatomies and scrutinizes inside to rescue the elemental body, but also the sidereal and illuminated ones (Paracelsus substances); when invites us to become aware of the archetypes that influence our psychic projections, our mental patterns; when through tarot cards favors a re-encounter with our energy sources (emotional, sexual, intellectual…)

Q- I see in your work an holistic conception of the body (and in art, connected to magic, astrology, popular knowledge…), as integrating matter and spirit, astral and visceral, the correspondences between microcosm and macrocosm, derived from alchemy and, in general, from a pre-modern worldview that, on the other hand, Jung (another reference for you) knew how to combine with psychology. I refer in particular to Ni animal ni tampoco ángel (2015) and Las líneas del destino (2016).

marina vargas - ni animal ni tampoco angel - le bastart
Venus Canova. Nor animal… CAC 2015

Yes. These are the projects most recently exposed. I usually work starting from ideas and, based on them, in various materials as required. While working I find that really exist a same heart or conflict is the engine of all.

Ni Animal ni tampoco ángel arises from previous sculptural projects as Sacrifice 2002, Noli Me Tangere 2009, El culto a Diana 2012 or La Piedad Invertida o madre muerta 2013. They focus on the relationship of the feminine and the animal, sacred and profane, symbolic and mythological; image as an object of worship and as an allegory of power.

marina vargas - piedad invertida - le bastart
Inverted Piety or Death Mother. 2013

La Piedad Invertida could be considered a prelude to Ni Animal ni tampoco ángel since both consist of a reversal of powers and question the inherited culturally, having in common the body as a container at different levels: physical, Cultural, psychological and astral.

Based on this premise I can say that what prompted me the idea of reversing the Piety of Michelangelo and taking as a reference the Ecstasy of St. Teresa for my own version of piety was the need to reclaim the power and role of the female body in the religious field, to raise a question and humanize the history. In the Bible Christ dies tortured on the cross and Mary faints when see him die, then is taken to heaven by some angels. She has no body; concieved without body and dies without feeling it. In a way death gives the power to divinity because is more powerful the dead body than ones stays alive, both in the original and in the inverted piety.

marina vargas - idolatrias - le bastart
Noli me tangere. 2008

This act of reversal is also the heart of Ni Animal ni tampoco ángel, in this case is to get the inside out, questioning the Greco-Roman canons that we have established as dogmatic truths and interrogating on the atavistic symbols that survive over time thanks to its transmutation into allegories of power. Uncovering the hidden, vice over virtue, Apollonian and Dionysian, order and chaos. Create a clash of opposites, permanent resource in my work, because sets the raison d’etre and relate to the world.

Ends that are part of myself: the material and the spiritual, classical and baroque, the high and the low, and we could even formally to add the sculptural and the pictorial. It is this duality that leads me to associate the name of the sculptures with the terms Paracelsus gives to states of matter transformation that conform the body.

marina vargas - culto a diana - le bastart
Diana’s cult 2012

From this interest in the image of the invisible comes Las líneas del destino. This project would be  connected to others as Psicoideos 2007 or Emblemas de fuerza 2009, focused on my interest in symbolism, archetypes, occult images and their transformation through painting and drawing.

Las líneas del destino has as object of study the tarot de Marseille. Always caught my attention the images of the pack of tarot cards, how each one of the details and even the color and number attend to a symbolic order that builds a whole cosmogony full of sense and fluidity; how it becomes a nomadic element and circle the world combining oriental elements, Judeo-Christian, Jewish and Islamic.

marina vargas - lineas destino - le bastart
10 swords. The lines  of destiny 2016

The tarot for me is a symbolic construction that points to an awareness raising; a mirror in which everyone can project; an instrument of mediation. I decided to create my own pack of cards after  investigating the Tarot of Marseilles and join my contribution, align with my previous work, and generate my own system in which each part serves a symbolic order of image and color. I do not decide color or images freely, everything serves a symbolic order which acquires its own natural rhythm. I can only see the result when are finished the 78 pieces-cards. The minor arcana, which are 56, constitute the skeleton of the body; and major, 22, set the powers that move the body.

marina vargas - lineas destino - le bastart
The lines of destiny. Exhibition in Museo ABC, 2016

The minor arcana are formed by the four suits of the cards pack: the cups, representing the emotional energy and correspond to the rib cage or heart; swords, representing the intellectual energy, the world of ideas and communication are represented by the head or skull; Golds, representing the material world or the vital needs and corresponds with their feet; and clubs, representing sexual energy and correspond to the pelvis. The 22 major are the forces that give mobility to the body. They are eelos, those that brought to life the skeleton. Each card corresponds to a number or degree that will affect their receptive or active existence toward heaven or earth. In each will predominate, according to his suits, a color corresponding to their element: cups-water, swords-air, golds-ground and club-fire.

For this project I have decided to be the cards themselves that say which way I should follow. For this I went to a fortune teller to a first read  of nine cards, to carry out my first general reading, to study, live, reinterpret and revisiting.

Las líneas del destino is the beginning of a life project that will be made through the different reads over time. It is even possible that never ends, maybe never emerge a card or some are repeated different times. Again I let myself go by chance, the instinctive, trying to bring order.

marina vargas - lineas destino - le bastart
9 cups. Lines of destiny 2016

Q- The creative impulse is in essence destructive, self-mutilating, sacrificial, said Bataille: reveals the formless of cosmic texture, lack of boundaries and hierarchies underlying categories that treat to order the world. That claim of the non-hierarchical, horror vacui, of the drive concretized in the formless, on the curve, in the schizoid line of outsider art … is carried in your work to such a refinement that, in his pop aspect, seems to betray the drive itself. As calling into question that art could actually reveal that underlying world.

I am very interested in outsider art precisely by that instinct you say or the creative potential in its purest form, in which each artist creates his own language and a universe in a direct way following his own ideological and formal principles. In this sense I have always felt a great attraction to those artists who are in the margins of the system.

marina vargas - jardin suplicio - le bastart
Garden of torment. 2008

But the reality is that I’m inside the system and I like it or not belong to him. This does not mean you can not delve and soak up this world but would be a big lie to pretend to be an outsider. Maybe there comes the refinement of my lines and may even them have to see on one side with the outsider and the other with the baroque, with the idea of fold or the exuberant. Between these two ends are my lines tangling.

This way of drawing is to me almost like a trance as practically comes a moment that the hand goes alone. This process has a lot of hypnotic, mantra, container of passage of time. This aspect is the one that would relate me with the outsider.

Control of that chaos or projected intention to create that horror vacui with this nedwork that I call guts and that runs along the image is the aspect that acquaint me with the baroque. But in any case I think that the existence and coexistence of these two poles betray this drive. You may obtain another drive that is not familiar or what was expected, but it is still just as real.

Q- The Mesoamerican syncretism was initially a survival strategy: African and indigenous slaves, mimickiing their original gods with Christian saints could partly preserve their ancestral beliefs. In the symbolic source from which you serve to compose your own syncretism I guess similar tactic of resistance, a willingness to reorganize this heritage to recuperate the sacred component of life.

marina vargas - y la palabra se hizo
Y la palabra se hizo carne 2014 (detail installation)

In my working process I have very present the ritual as a fundamental tool that makes all dualities and fragments being presented as a unit. As well you say my syncretic practice helps me to resist because much of the art has to do with the resistance and for me this has much to do with recouping the sacred component of life.

Dialogue with the work is not trying a conversion to the spirit that gave birth to the work (futile attempt), but try to discover what it still can tells us. It is not adapt it to our world view or adapt us to it but to dialogue with it; see what the past can still say to the present, and what response or questions we can give/ask to its mysteries.

Q- You reconcile the Christian and pagan legacy in a personal melting pot where the feminine re-emerges as originative subversive force: from the matriarchal (dead mother in the inverted representation of the Michelangelo’s Pietà), as ecstatic experience (the transverberation of Bernini’s Santa Teresa merged with mentioned image of expiring Mary), as executrix of sacrifices (Diana to Actaeon, the vagina dentata as Jungian archetype …)

Archetypes are our psychic inheritance, roles and patterns that society accepts and performs unconsciously. Jung called archetypes ideas that humanity shares, regardless of culture or creed.

marina vargas - el modelo y la artista - le bastart
The model and the artist 2015

An archetype can be defined as a type of person or behavior. And in this sense, as Bataille says, we all have in common an abyss. We all come from a vagina.

As I mentioned, the role of the body is very present in my work, especially women’s. Not only because I am a woman but because I believe that today we are seeing a rejection of the body or a larger distance which already had. A clear example is the ban on feeding infants in public areas considering it indecent. I think that this encourages even more perverse, dirty and misunderstood vision of the body and especially women’s and motherhood.

marina vargas - torso belvedere - le bastart
Belvedere torso or liquid gold, 2015

Q- The alchemical principle of contraries reconciliation, playing with reversal (viscera-epidermis, form-formless; pleasure-torture; mother-son …) also is taken to your own space as a woman and artist: when you hug the Belvedere torso this harmony of opposites involves variety of shades (the model and the artist, marble and flesh, male and female …) synthesized in an image that expresses power and fragility as two sides of the same. As if it was the embrace between the vulnerability of being and creative energy, feeding each other.

El modelo y la artista is the piece that opens and closes the meaning of Ni animal ni tampoco ángel exhibition. It is no more than a gesture of reconciliation and poetic claim. A fragile gesture which go out the force, going into the genre of the artist and the model, subverting the phallocentric relationship established throughout art history. The erotic charge is obvious, but even more is the struggle of opposites: the feminine against the masculine, animated against the inanimate, the artist against the model, the human warmth against the cold marble. From this photo-performative action arises my subsequent intervention in the sculpture Torso de Belvedere o oro líquido. It is therefore the polyurethane flows like a random amatory fluid that permeates the torso. The association with the term of Paracelsus (liquid gold) is the supreme elixir that transforms the human body.

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