“Un abismo como sutura” individual exhibition. Centro Párraga (Murcia). 2019


Isabel Durante

In this respect the enigmatic formal approach, arising from creative self-reflection, is able to elucidate the value of representation through the visual simplicity that redefines reality, enclosing the universe in a circle, a form which expands it so as to make the impossible possible. The circle is the imprint, the vestige, the palpable trace on which conventional limits are transcended and where it becomes possible to create an intimate vision, a space of constant thinking about the concerns that were already present in Baena’s snow-white sculptures and remain unchanged in the materiality of the stitch, the thread passing through paper. The narrative is displaced to the two-dimensional plane, but continues to reveal
itself as a desire to seek the margins of what remains hidden in the twisting of time that delays the event and its interpretation. As Leonardo da Jandra noted: “every new form of power strives to rearrange time, denying the past and postponing the future. It is this disdain for all transformative action that gives power its character of lasting presentness.”

Although it might seem that the simplicity of the work harbours an inclination towards reductionism, and that the tautological nature of the series is axiomatic, the complexity ofthe ideas on which each ofthe pieces in “Stitching an Abyss” speculates is inherent to the labyrinthine nature of their construction, with no pre-designed models or common patterns. The intertwined threads weave a set of symbols of appearance which ultimately point to a reality dissected in each pass of the needle. For this artist, art is “a meeting point, a place of production, an idea based on a change in the nature of artworks, conceived not as finished objects ready to be looked at but as active agents”, an idea that ties in with the
principles of the theory of relational aesthetics proposed by Nicolas Bourriaud.

Her work advances, almost obsessively, to the abyss, seeking to stimulate uncertainty as a starting point for the quest to foster a gaze that will penetrate the outer skin, wandering towards a fabric of tensions where she can reaffirm the different versions of the world while materially reinterpreting memory. In this order of things, her approach enables us to abandon the space of everyday life we have learned and confront other realities that convey emotion from the abyss. In this process she suggests a variety of routes that can be followed to acquire an unprejudiced awareness of one’s own creative act.
Baena highlights the symbolic breadth of representation, constructing a narrative of space and time joined in a combined dimension, indebted to the conceptual trend interrupted by the needle that marks the development of the form, gradually transforming a surface on which everything happens. Her forms encapsulate warmth in themselves, leaving space for suggestions from the viewer.

These works are supposedly distanced from the ornamental, reinforcing the experiential aspect of the discourse. She is not interested in the decorative dimension, but rather enhances the value of the fabric which is thus established as the pretext for presence and absence, to reveal a vulnerable fiction in which domesticity turns towards the limits of art.
The circular, repetitive, recurrent appearance of the figures presented on her papers slowly absorbs the gaze in a timescale that expands beyond what is happening in that place, to which it returns obsessively again and again, in a continuous process of enunciation, concentrating meanings within a parenthesis of resistance.
The urgent need to reflect on and assimilate the issues that define artistic practice in Carmen Baena’s work connects directly with the interest her discourse arouses in concepts that in principle are of low intensity but are nevertheless capable of creating complex parameters and at the same time activating the discursive construction of a series of themes that delve deeply into the human condition.

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