The same gray spreading through highways, tunnels and level crossings, manufacturing plants and new construction blocks. Suburban landscapes that only tread on infinite number of wheels, unavailable for the passer-by. Edges of cement more and more extensive that are repeated without hardly variation all over the world.
Also the boundaries, increasingly high, longer, more impassable, are a model that extends through the world with few variations: containment barriers, electrified wire fences, motion sensors…
In both kinds of scenes, on the margins (of the city, of identity, of life…), Diana Coca has carried out her project Where is Diana? (2015), specifically in Tijuana and in Beijing outlying districts.
Travelling under a leaden sky, the fleeting glimpse (through the windshield) of a camouflaged woman with a balaclava, black leggings and long gloves, standing on high heels on the side of a motorway junction, has to be, necessarily, hallucinated.
In her camouflage outfit she creeps over iron railings and between pipes of old factories. Skyscrapers of Beijing’s financial district are outlined in low angle behind her black silhouette, always lurking.
Artist and foreigner in a country, China, where both status are under suspicion, staying there for four years, Diana felt the burden of the surveillance state, of the disciplinary power that classifies, segregates, alienates.
There arose her idea of creating a character of elastic body capable of circumventing the rigid social and urban regulations that obstruct movements. Guerrilla art and catsuit as emblems of adaptive efficiency to adverse situations.
Coca, who has always felt the limits of identity (gender, culture …), places herself now in the boundaries of the territory playing the game of estrangement, being a strange body for the system. Exploring the asphalt landscape from unusual perspectives, transforming the deserted streets into playful locations, making the hostile terrain a geo-psychic laboratory.
Let’s imagine an elastic-girl slipping past successive customs, smuggling in ships that cross the Pacific to the Baja California littoral… by the way, could it be she the one who swims toward the coast of Tijuana?
Where the wall that separates Mexico from the United States goes into the sea, we see a black-outlined silhouette that pushes the iron bars, a useless gesture that enhances the absurdity of the image of a barrier aspiring to infinity, competing with the ocean.
Holding a heavy stick she tries to tear down the fence, either slides like a panther at ground level or gets on to fallen trunks. It seems to eroticize those barren lands, where anomie reigns.
In a place where they shoot first and ask later, her actions are not are not exempt from risks.
In other photo-performances of the same series we see it in more leafy sceneries, sprouting like a black flower between dahlias and bushes.
Coca has often expressed the search for the feminine in nature, although it is often a failed encounter, closer to Hans Bellmer’s broken dolls than to Ana Mendieta’s nature fusions. Her legs in red shoes sticking out from one side of the Great Wall of China (souvenir), sprouting like weeds next to hawthorn wires or in a field full of flowers (naturaleza extrema), talks us with black humor about the fetishized female.
Nature can only be experienced through cultural prosthetics, she seems to tell us when always appears “disguised”, but when tearing the stockings in a forest glade she is testing ways to get rid of those corsets of the feminine. Or when she tries in vain to be reborn in the womb of a flooded woodland (umbilicales), choreographies that oscillate between irony and a hurtful melancholy, empathizing with the agonizing pulse of mother earth.
Like ivy, Diana (wandering Mallorcan) “sets her own roots in motion”, making Nicolas Bourriaud’s theory of radicant art (one of her referents) a brave praxis based on the cross-border.
Diana Coca solo show “Where is Diana?”
can be visited in Tabacalera Promoción del Arte, Madrid
Curator: Begoña Torres González
Organized by Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte. Subdirección General de Promoción de las Bellas Artes