23 October - 10 November
The origin of ‘poetry’ alludes to the gesture of creating or transforming thoughts into matter or forms; forms that when interpreted by someone, other than their creator, have the power to recreate and evoke particular images in our brains. If that is the purpose of writing, what then, is the difference between signs in painting and those of poetry?
The difference, according to Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, is time. The narration of an image is immediate, whereas, in writing, it is spaced between a beginning, a middle and an end.
Many artists have questioned this difference; particularly in Latin America, where the line between image-making and writing has been used to challenge the political power of art as a universal system of signs. The work of these four Latin American women artists lets us explore the different approaches towards interpretation, perception and language, and confront the immediate meanings that initially come to mind.
In their works, Carmen Mariscal and Francisca Sosa Lopez challenge the potential universality of text, signs and forms, observing the immense power of the written form in the collective unconscious. Mariscal’s Calladita, te ves más bonita (You look prettier with your mouth shut), questions the significance of this quintessentially oppressive phrase that is frequently directed at women in Latin America. This work highlights the cultural importance placed on beauty and presents a stark reminder that women’s voices, opinions and emotions are ‘meant’ to be silenced. In the textile 'Incessant Ranting of a Persistent love affair', Sosa Lopez weaves a 2,043-word love letter to her home country, Venezuela, onto the fabric of furniture from her childhood home. In displacing the fabric, visual poetics are used to evoke the emotions and adaptation involved in connecting to a new landscape, environment and circumstance.
In comparison, Sofia Clausse and Camila Quintero’s works examine the correlation between the passing of time and the act of image-making, whether through words or forms. Words that become pure signifiers without denoting anything in particular; and in contrast, forms that portray pure significance. In creating her own words, tools and systems, Clausse explores the process behind the linguistic sign to convey something that could not have been expressed before, and through this, finds new meanings. In turn, Quintero’s exploration of geometrical shapes challenges Lessing’s assumption of the static nature of the image allowing a narrative to evolve through her juxtaposition of form and colour.