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12.000 meters of plated elastics / Stone suit /

Box of light

22 mts x 10 mts x 8 mts

Museum of Fine Arts

Santiago / Chile


A matter of interest in the performatic susceptibility of Mahaluf´s work is in the reutilization –and not recycling- of a group of works that are always there to organize a universal relation. It has to pointed out that the vault of the work at the MNBA is made of rubber bands, something that has come up previous but differently, in “Nodo” for example (CCE, 2004-5) in which they appear (virtually) “holding and bringing down” the building in which they were placed; or in the “Mnémica” performance (Die Ecke gallery, 2005) in which the own artist’s resistance is submitted to the tension of the rubber bands (that were used in “Nodo”). What is relevant is that these two fields concretely appear in the “Superficie y Resistencia Nómade” (“Surface and Nomad Resistance”) performance (Inés de Suarez square, 2006), simultaneously assuming both fields of the work that seemed or would rather be thought of differently, although these elements had always had a certain susceptibility of relation, at least in virtual terms (the concrete condition of what is lax/rigid of the rubber bands in the architectonic space, reconverted in rigid/lax after the installation at the CCE, etc.). Then, there was nothing left to do than making them converge. The best way was through the performance being placed in the public space, a way also virtual from the performance at Die Ecke, in which Mahaluf leaves the room –to the outside, in the distance, towards the public space- once the rubber bands that held it together were cut.


The suit was inaugurated as an event as part of an action that the artist held in a public square (Ines de Suarez, 2006) on which a wall of rubber bands placed horizontally between the trees. The artist, with the red bead suit, ran and jumped towards the wall, passing through it. Precisely what is hard and what is soft is nothing but two simultaneous moments, feasible to be sorted, to find the work’s substrate. Or in other words, the performance is the possibility in the relations between what is hard and what is soft, between the artist and the world, beyond the sacredness of the museum space. Suddenly what is rigid is altered in all of its socioeconomic expectations (the colored acrylic beads are the cheap way out to the illusion of the fantasy of luxury, apart from always and automatically being a trinket) used to manufacture a suit the artist has a  link to the happening. This is important because it allows one to think of the object exhibited at the MNBA as a performance and not an object necessarily. There precisely lies the susceptibility of what is performatic. A performance today supposes the conversion of all the objects and places as new contexts. That is, Mahaluf’s strategy has been such that it has not only created an “object”, but, most importantly a context. And the issue continues then, when I find out that what a context is I grasp the thing itself; not the work of art as a thing, but art itself. That is why it is important to affirm that the performatic action in Mahaluf is a kind of relation with the field of things, like a relation to understand not only a work of art but the movement that constitutes it as such.


The exhibited suit is apparently no other thing than the virtual moment in which the only reality is found in the imagination of that which was and what is to come. In this way are required to sort the object to find ourselves with the thing itself. We run into Mahaluf’s work reconsidering art itself in the museum hall.


*Extract text from "What is soft and what hard" by Juan Francisco Garate

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