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Dora García

Respiración artificial / Performance / Eco oscuro, 2016

Artificial Respiration. Performance. Dark Echo (2016)

Edition | Posters. MOREpublishers, Ghent
89 x 59,4 cm. (x3 cm.)

These three posters were produced by MOREpublishers (Ghent) on the occasion of an individual exhibition by Dora García at the IVAM art centre in Valencia in 2016. The tripartite title of this show identifies each of the posters in a continuous narrative linked by a single image. The drawing represents two heads joined by a Möbius strip, in what is a recurring theme in the artist’s work: the identity in continual change, the fusing or merging of characters as well as the process ofsplitting, gender, the double or doppelgänger and more. There is also a utopian dimension in this drawing, inspired by an amphibious science-fiction imaginary.

Artificial Respiration is a performance in which a group of participants observes the city (Valencia; Madrid) by way of different audio recordings and transcripts. The outgoing text comprises more than three hundred entries in the form of verses or prayers, edited by the artist while maintaining the colloquial style of the original recordings. The technical description of the surroundings and the delayed transmission of the reality engender an instantaneous narrative: a writing and a reading without end producing a projection which, as in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, illuminates the understanding between two people, a writer and a reader, one recounting and the other listening. The piece takes its title from Respiración artificial, the homonymous novel by the Argentine writer Ricardo Piglia, who is embodied in the book by Emilio Renzi, his alter ego. This writer’s work is proof that virtually anything can be fictionalized. For example, the reading of theory or psychoanalysis, Lacan and Freud, as adventures of the adventures and misadventures of the subconscious. ‘Isn’t psychoanalysis a great fiction?’ Piglia asks. In the novel, history, research and politics are camouflaged in the artifice that is fiction. In the performance, two people alternately read out verses, interweaving fiction and reality.

Performance takes its inspiration from the film of the same name directed by Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg in 1970, one of the most iconic of British ‘art’ films, in which the principal roles are played by Mick Jagger and James Fox. This is a work of ‘read theatre’ to be enacted by six actors or performers and is based on a script that I wrote as a colophon to my collaboration with the artist in the aforementioned exhibition at IVAM. Six scripts, one for each character, lie on the table until the actors periodically activate them. The script, which gives an account of the actuality of the multiple meanings of the term ‘performance’ (in art, dance, music and the experimental scene), is the continuation of one of the questions asked by the artist: Where do the characters go when the novel ends?

Third and last, Eco oscuro Dark Echo– is the title of a novel by Francisco ‘Paco’ Baena in which the work of Dora García appears in fictionalized form and ends up determining the relationships between the different characters. These three collaborative pieces serve to generate a continuinarration that goes on and on and characterizes all of the artist’s production as a mechanism always open to the Other.

Peio Aguirre


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Dora García

(Valladolid, 1965)

 

Dora García’s work is strongly characterized by the involvement of its viewers, who are urged to take a stand on ethically contentious questions, to commit themselves to a closer examination of these matters and to reflect on the institutional nature of the setting in which their encounter with works of art takes place.

Hers is a practice based on research, and one that focuses on subjects which recur and are woven into the whole fabric of her production, such as the interest in the history of anti-institutional movements (with particular attention to anti-psychiatry), the figure of the artist as outsider and mechanisms of communication, whether linguistic or not. These subjects are not explained to the viewer, but laid out with an attitude that verges on a challenge: documents, ambiguous reenactments in performances, lectures and talks, videos and books are presented in the exhibition space as archives, sophisticated sets of references, reworkings. Viewers have to choose their own key of interpretation, decide what attitude to take, the degree of interaction they wish to have with the work. Or remain impervious to the provocation of an enigmatic theme, ambiguously presented in such a way as to make people think. As a complement to this total openness of interpretation, García prepares a series of instruments, often in the form of websites, to share her sources with viewers, to inform them about her projects and keep them up to date on their development and to get to know their opinions and reactions through blogs and social networks.

Eva Fabbris  


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Dora García

Read with golden fingers (L’Innommable – Samuel Beckett), 2010

Object | Used book and gold leaf

13.5 x 18 cm

 

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In the first decade of the twenty-first century Dora García began a series of works based on literary texts, which is still ongoing. In this series, in addition to manifesting her abiding interest in studying phenomena related to language and communication, the artist brings into play her capacity to explore — and to exploit in creative form — the links and crossovers between literature and performance, focusing in this case on the performative aspect of reading, that is to say, in its condition as act or action. The pieces in this series are one-off books, which the artist makes using paperback editions of works by her favourite authors, reading each one with her fingertips covered with gold leaf. The golden fingerprints that each reading leaves on the surface of the pages preserve, enduringly visible, the physical gestures inherent in the act of reading. An act at once universal and personal, potentially infinite and at the same time unrepeatably unique; an act that extends over a given time to establish, in the words of the artist, ‘a process of strange temporalities difficult to gauge, but very accessible if the gestures and movements of the reader are traced’. The golden marks of her fingers on the pages effectively bestow material entity on the reading as ‘an action that seems to leave no trace on the body, and yet nonetheless generates very complex temporalities between the infinite past of the text and the future of all its readers’.

The piece entitled Read with Golden Fingers (L’Innommable – Samuel Beckett), from 2010, which belongs to this series, was made on a copy of L’Innomable (1953), a long monologue in the first person in the course of which the narrator, whose identity is sketched for us with blurred and changing contours, reflects on the capacity of language and discourse to construct the reality around him and even his own essence. ‘The search for the means to put an end to things, an end to speech,’ the narrator affirms, ‘is what enables the discourse to continue.’ Echoing this perspective, it would seem to be the reading of the text by Dora García, with the golden trail this has left in its wake, which materializes the communicative act that is established between author and reader. In doing so she highlights — by making visible — the role of the viewer in his or her condition as co-participant on the literary act, while at the same time ‘muting’ the volume, leaving it unusable for further reading and thus cancelling its infinite potential as a tool for communication. The symbolic charge of gold — valuable, but also materially quantifiable — is overlaid on the literary discourse, in contrast with the immaterial and therefore incommensurable character of the act of reading.

Mela Dávila

 


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