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by Juan Francisco Gárate


Mnemonica is a political emptying, an exercise which supposes to overcome the “agenda of memory” to cover the distance between politics and psychiatry, it is a political artifact to dismantle politics, precisely. The realism of debris as representation of (transitional) memory has suddenly turned dirt poor to the point of conformity, of course, explainable in a generalized context of “reflexibility” as the hyper-comprehension of free capital flow. Within this homogenizing sensibility there can be no interference in the phases of the accumulation process. In this context, of banquet and stale bread crust it is important to point out the nonsensical cross-reference of the political gesture in the premise of the Argentinean May-Square Mothers asking for an impossibility: wanting their relatives back. Precisely here politics operate, stubbornly, endlessly dismantling the argument of “real politics”. It is then about imagination in the re-construction of empty spaces.


Precisely, the politics of what is possible is the point in question in MNEMONICA to be emptied of its contextual sense; it supposes the detachment of sense reproduced as reality. The operations are then going to be subjected to every kind of trial for the articulation of politics. To this end Sebastián Mahaluf reutilizes the remains of “Nodo/Node” (FALSO, CCE, December 2004), this is, the distension to confer the work a character of in-process, in the way of the “duchampian cases” (sans the objectual minimization). Kilometers of tense rubber, now the loose shreds of a work with an implicit performativity: When is rubber really elastic? When does it stretch in or out? In “Node” Mahaluf presented the exhaustion of the maximum tension: to virtually bring with itself the centripetal and centrifugal downfall of an old and rigid space.


An example of nodal tension, speaking of what is mnemonic, we find in the critical exercise of Beccafumi on the canonical exercise of Perugino. It is about virtually juxtaposing the “Annunciation” over the “Pieta” respectively. The mathematical device of a circle inscribed in a square as a structure of schematic, fixed and symmetric representation is tensed, subjected to a new trial consisting in emptying the full figurative core, this is, with Perugino all of the (pictoric) space was arranged in virtue of a “subject of fundament”, the virgin in the case mentioned, which is the measure to put in order all the spatial (and ideological) relations. Precisely this “fundament” is displaced by Beccafumi, a displacement of such proportions that it is left demanded at the very border of the pictorial space (lower right angle), in other words, bordering on the limit of representation. Beccafumi empties a canonic fundament to fill space with a relative, tense/relaxed one. Effectively the sole possible subject is the “trial” –something like a premature Cartesian ME- whose look is threatened to an open and evanescent space stripped of the figure and the theme. In this way there is no figure predetermining a background, but rather, a spectator open to juxtapose the “fundament” to be filled. In the “Annunciation” everything occurs in the space to be determined between the annunciating angel (upper left angle) and the virgin, producing a rhomboid and an ellipsis (both virtual) inscribed in the concrete square of the painting’s support by effect of the tensions of the visual weights in the representation.


Nevertheless Mahaluf is not a manierist. Admitting this label would precisely mean to admit a formalism and its respective decentering totally de-contextualized of their own ideological (and merely mnemonic) problems. It is something else. Like Beccafumi supposed a possible eccentricity regarding the norm, or rather taking the norm to its extreme and with it the (absolute) ideological decentering hagiography supposed the “remains” to be emptied); Mahaluf (now) supposes a space to be continuous and systematically maximized. “Node” exhausted the spatial possibilities of the very of its location in the structural fatigue following the (elastic) tension. Because of this the performatic relaxation located at the Die Ecke gallery assumes the exhaustion of the artistic and exhibition practices reaching beyond the very decentering, this is, extravagance. Mahaluf is supposing a reflexibility at the very place of his locations. There is a point of interest for such a suspicion and its performances. It is a 3D video projection which is, in part, the scenery for what performatically happens not only in a moment restrained of all of MNEMONICA’s time, moment in which Mahaluf’s performance exhibits the relaxation of the “Nodule” rubbers. The video projection shows the traveling across the “topography” like a virtual flaneur, where maps are superimposed, the circuits (of Chilean art). Yes, “Nodule” was not held as an artistic event in itself but as a display process fulfilled (or not) in time and space; in the agendas and artistic protocol locations. The appearance of Mahaluf’s performatic action and the fractal projection of the landscape is presented as a split. Because of this the importance of bringing the performative objects of “Nodule” (and the ruins of their tension) with itself, relaxed now, to specify a performative work possible in an uncertain topography. Mahaluf knows ruins only appear as the memory of what is missing; Mahaluf knows that the table of (Chilean) art only exhibits Stale bread crusts.