SUSPENSION IN TENSION
Ceramic vase and elastic bands
Cameras: Marcelo Armani and Gaeun Kim
A4 Art Museum, Chengdu, China / October 2023
As one can see, the physical conditions and the consequent material language of the elastic band have provided a conceptually relevant tension device to many artists and various moments of the second half of the twentieth century and of the twenty first century so far, especially in performance and social art or happenings. In that short history of art, the work of Sebastián Mahaluf proposes an interesting limit of what we have seen of his work so far. Perhaps the conceptual return of elasticity and tension is laxity and deceleration: This is, the proposal of a weakened art. Its narrative consequences cannot be but the violent smashing of everything that was once in tension, suspended or balancing by the swaying and oscillations of elasticity.
In effect, it is letting go as a consequence of the material and nervous fatigue of the body. Then, let the inevitable occur. That is what happens in the Suspensión en Tensión performance (2023) at the A4 Art Museum in Chengdu, China. The artist holds the end of an elastic cord while lying on the ground with limited mobility. The cord passes by a pulley on the ceiling of the hall and that, at the other end of the cord has a Chinese tibor porcelain vase hanging from high up. The action lasted until the artist exhausted his physical strength and could not continue sustaining the weight of the traditional piece. It fell and smashed into pieces on the floor of the hall and the pieces remained scattered everywhere, even invading the space of neighboring artworks by other artists. Chinese porcelain in a thousand pieces.
*Extract from the text "Chinese Porcelain in a Thousand Pieces", by Juan Francisco Gárate.