The pieces by María X. Fernández are presented to us as eloquent examples of certain contemporary practices. If art was, until our time, representation, the progressive evolution of it was leading us to a different territory passing from representation to objectification, in the which the arte makes sense per se. And this is going to be the new territory in which violence emerges in contemporary art. Along these lines, María X. Fernández understands her work as an incisive look at abyssal aspects of the human condition, at deep and universal feelings-evil, pain-, which she makes us see brilliantly and emotionally through the mirror of the reused and manipulated image.
About the exhibition "II Time" by María X. Fernández in the Sala de Apos'trophe in Vigo (March/2022)
The invention of photography in 1839 was the greatest challenge to history, whose flow ran anonymously and invisible through the course of the centuries. Exaggerated or distorted in legends, songs and chronicles, the deeds experienced in memorable battles or the unfortunate romances of noble ladies and gentlemen survived into oblivion. It is not difficult to imagine the social impact that photography caused in the first half of the 19th century, evidenced by the rapid development that followed and the first urgent need to capture images of people, places and things. Such perplexity causes the photographic, which since its birth has been the subject of reflection and debate by prominent thinkers.
The German philosopher Sigmund Kracauer is the first to focus on the problematic relationship between photography and history by enunciating how, despite the fidelity of the recording of the photographic image, it is isolated from the "spatial phenomenon and the totality of the course timing of the events”. The memory recorded by the photographic image is an incomplete fragment, a "waste" that does not go beyond the visual; From the point of view of meaning, the old photographs are opaque devices, they lack autonomy and do not reveal their meaning if they are not illuminated under the dim and imprecise focus of other knowledge and knowledge.
This turns the photographic image into a propitious substance for artistic research and experimentation. The materiality of the medium and the tenuous links that unite the old photographs with their space and time allow the artist to explore new configurations and subject the photographic archive to the scrutiny of the imagination. I underline this last point because the creative has special relevance in this context, since the iconic nature of the image opposes resistance to its relocation in areas outside the everyday. This issue seems to me to have been resolved with remarkable success in the exhibition that Maria X. Fernández inaugurated yesterday in the Apo'strophe room in Vigo, under the title "II Tempo", in which the Galician artist proposes an interesting rationalization exercise of old images of children from the Spanish postwar period.
More than a hundred of these child portraits are arranged in the form of a grid on the main panel, obeying a principle of Cartesian rigor to which the author subjects these images silenced by time and history. As if pretending to rationalize the discourse of history, the author suggests that in the discipline of the right angle and the line, the discourse of history could be rationalized, which extends with mechanical insistence along the wall, barely interrupted by a disturbing a way that seems to alert us to the rhizomatic character that runs through the flow of history.
Maria X.Fernández insists on her search, applying statistical distribution methods, assigning color codes to the children's faces based on their expression -this assessment is still a creative license, regardless of taxonomic objectivity- and we leads to a paradoxical conclusion: at the vertex of the room, where the gazes that flee from the geometric limits meet, a large sculpture made up of intervened images, and whose appearance is perhaps more familiar to us with the processes of memory, seems to reconcile history with chaos.
The river allusions that are cited in the statement of the work seemed appropriate to me and yesterday, while the present flowed in the tumultuous and vibrant waters of a boisterous inauguration, I could not help thinking that we will only be able to penetrate the darkness of oblivion in which history sinks from the vision and sensitivity of the artist.