IN-FLUX | Exhibition

IN-FLUX: Visiting Artists | Group Exhibition

Group exhibition with Amparo Sard, Mónica Fuster, Pep Guerrero, Teresa Matas, Marian F. Moratinos

Curated by Eva Shakouri. Touring: The Old Truman Brewery (London) and Sumerlee Museum (Glasgow).


By George Stoltz

Text extract from the catalog of the exhibition IN FLUX: Visiting Artists

Freud, in the opening chapter of his Civilization and its Discontents, discusses the hypothesis that in identity’s mental accumulation of experience (which only partly coincides with memory) nothing that has been formed perishes, that everything is preserved, and in order to illustrate his point he proceeds to spin an analogy: the mind as city, specifically as Rome, but a fantastical version of the Eternal City, a version where past and present coexist in time and space, a Roma without ruins, where nothing has burned, no columns have toppled, nothing has been buried or paved over: “Now let us, by a flight of imagination, suppose that Rome is not a human habitation but a psychical entity with a similarly long and copious past – an entity, that is to say, in which nothing that has once come into existence will have passed away and all the earlier phases of development continue to exist alongside the latest one….and the observer would perhaps only have to change the direction of his glance or his position in order to call up the one view or the other.”

In Marian Moratinos’s work presented in In Flux, the contemporary city (specifically, and identifiably, New York City) acquires a sort of psychical presence similar to that of Freud’s imaginary Rome. Her cubes and beams echo the city’s horizontal street grid (itself a recovery of Roman urban design that post-Renaissance planners finally found an opportunity to apply in the non-urbanized New World) as well as Manhattan’s dwarfingly vast vertical extension of the repetitive façades. But Moratinos’s cubes and beams have been loosened and shaken up a bit, they have begun to slip and wander, they group and regroup according to more variable sets of parameters. Once upon a time Piet Mondrian began by searching earnestly through the negative space of tree branches in Holland and ended up boogy-woogying down Broadway: Moratinos does both. The sense of isolation and consequent melancholy so often associated with urban life pervades Moratinos’s portrayal of the city, but it is coupled with a parallel sense of simultaneity and overlay, of more than one thing happening at the same time, of seeing not only through branches and windows but through time’s negative spaces.

In Freud’s imaginary psychic city, movement – the shift of a glance, the turn of a body – provokes a change of view and of image; in the multiplicity of Moratinos’s evoked psychic city, movement fuses these changed views and imagery into different combinations, different composites, different content (and where the unseen side always remains just that, unseen). Like the city, like identity itself, these are puzzles with more than one solution.

The Old Truman Brewery

Brick Lane, London

May 2008

Sumerlee Museum

Glasgow, Scotland

May 2009

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