- Behind the Scene: Witness I
In art, film and poetry, the window has been a popular motif for centuries. The classic symbol of the view through a window, in history of art, represents a staged aesthetic longing for endless open spaces, for the dream of freedom as well as a melancholic and pensive mood in search of meaning. By the Symbolists it was even used as a metaphor for love, life and death. Depending on culture and tradition, windows are open or closed to the viewer.
Windows in my work stand for spaces, borders, openings, barriers, or gates.
In the series of 2015 the meaning of the windows expanded into a more personal and feminine metaphor: curtains became drapes, veils, shawls and rebozos. This deeply feminine object is rich in cultural tradition, and symbolic content and very meaningful to me because it addresses identity as well. The shawl I used in my photomontages is the traditional Mexican rebozo from Tenancingo.
Frida Kahlo carefully created her image and artistic identity by demonstratively wearing and portraying herself with traditional Mexican jewelry, dresses and accessoires. Specially by wearing the rebozo she defined herself as Mexican, and at the same time it protected her and covered her injuries (her corset).
I was very young when I read Frida Kahlo’s biography, and I remember not being able to finish the book, because it was simply too painful. Reading about the dramatic bus accident at 18, and her injuries that marked and changed her life, left an impression on me.
Many years later, as a student at the FKS Art Academy in Stuttgart, Germany, I started working on a series of large-scale paintings (210 x 135 cm) ready to process and deal with her/my pain using the image of a corset as a metaphor for injury and confinement. The images of an unstable column/vertebrae represented vulnerability.
The images of demolished buildings represent the same wounds but on a universal scale: The wounds of Humanity infiltrated by senseless violence, war and destruction…as well as the loss of one’s Home.
In witness I, I am adding another layer by dividing the building in two parts creating an opening in between. The image of the window and the wall melt together… my comment to the situation at the border between Mexico and the US.
My compositions are generally interwoven by many layers. Some are more obvious and some are more subtle or personal, and go deeper. After I created the three photomontages with the title witness I, II, III in 2016, I realized, also by writing this text, that I am seeing a long process unfold before my eyes: The act of breaking, destroying and tearing down also means transformation. I am witnessing my own personal and artistic transformation… I am creating space for something new.
Blue represents endless space, depth and silence… Blue is the color of hope and the seat of the soul.
“The seat of the soul is where the inner and the outer world meet…”
German Poet Novalis, 1798 Blütenstaub
I am very pleased that this photomontage, will be part of Spectra 2017, a Gallery44 Members Exhibition during the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival 2017. Please join me at the Exhibition Opening at Gallery 1313, on Thursday, May 11th at 7pm. More details are available at the Facebook event page.