One of the artists living and working in Spain with the most solid, mature artistic vision is Marina Núñez (Palencia, 1966), whose works take a highly original approach to tackling a number of signature aspects of the complex reality of our time.
What kind of representations of the human being are practicable today in the world of the plastic arts? Over a century ago now, starting out from the ideas put forward by the avant-garde art movements, the traditional models of representation – both figurative and imitative – gradually became less and less valid, ultimately dissolving into plurality and uncertainty. At the same time, photographic and electronic image media were concurrently making way for simulacrum figures, images purportedly even more authentic than the cultural construct we call reality.
When we look, what do we see …? What is our vision able to retain in a world overpopulated by scattered images that make their way into our sensibility and our mind, barely leaving neither time nor space for us to understand, in depth, what they are, what they are looking for, what they have to say …?
The question of vision, in the complex, hybrid universe of overlapping technologies we currently live in, is a fil rouge that runs right through the work of Marina Núñez, which tackles today’s questions using today’s formulas and approaches. The decisive element is that the image of our time never remains still; it twists and turns in perpetual motion; and Marina Núñez responds to this dynamic nature of the global image by bringing an intense, expressively dynamic approach to her works.
1992 marks the turning point that takes off in the direction of a language and a subject matter all of her own. Since then, she began venturing into the symbolic, imaginary terrain of exclusion, shaping an immensely powerful visual language, one of the most personal and distinctive on our contemporary art scene, resonant with doubt and irony: are we sure about what we exclude, and about why we exclude it? Dense, duplicated images, the flow of which has gradually branched off into different series: Madness, Death, Monstrous Women, Sinister, Science Fiction…
The female figure occupies a central role in this map of exclusions, and seeks to use the image to highlight the lowly place women have traditionally been relegated to in the history of our culture. The decisive factor here, however, is duplication. The mad women on the return journey from the drama of hysteria are duplicated in a floating mirror, with neither frame nor contours. Objects hanging from figures, skulls superimposed onto heads, incisions in the flesh, one body inside another. The face staring out at us from deep inside the brain of the cyborg.
Marina Núñez’s work allows us to appreciate new flickers of the ego and the uniqueness of this age marked by sharp transformations. Metamorphosis, multiplicity and reverberation of the image, circulating like a heavenly body merging into the trail and the tracks of the human, with the technology that increasingly exists within us, making us all cyborgs in the final instance, whether we like it or not.
This exhibition, El fuego de la visión (The Fire of Vision), offers a general overview of her work, hitherto presented only in a more limited form in the successive individual exhibitions she has staged in the course of a career lasting over 20 years. It is structured around a conceptual, poetic axis that is expressed in the title. There are two key components summarised in it that are instrumental to an understanding of this artist’s work:
– fire, an image of passion in which shifting, ever-changing human relationships are played out and at the same time traversed by the most intense light; and
– vision, a sign of expression, of eyes springing to life, the transposition of the flow that passes from life to art: seeing is life, seeing is love, seeing is observance of art.
Presented around this axis are 56 works, created using different techniques and media: paintings, digital images and video installations, the variety of which allows the observer to appreciate the multimedia dimensions of current art, and Marina Núñez’s work as a whole. It is especially worth noting the presentation of a new work, a large video installation on 9 screens created specifically for this exhibition, with which it shares the same title: El fuego de la visión (2015).
Marina Núñez. El fuego de la visión, curated by José Jiménez, Museo ARTIUM. Centro Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporá, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, 01.06 – 01.11.2016 (previously on show at Sala Alcalá 31, Madrid, 15.12.2015 – 27.03.2016).
Images (cover 1) Marina Núñez – Installation view of the exhibition”El fuego de la visión”, Sala Alcalá 31, Comunidad de Madrid, 2015, and Artium, Vitoria, 2016. (2) Marina Núñez. Installation view of the exhibition”El fuego de la visión”, Sala Alcalá 31, Comunidad de Madrid, 2015, and Artium, Vitoria, 2016. (3) Marina Núñez. Frame of “Crack (3)”, 2014. Single-channel video, 4´40´´ (4) Marina Núñez. Frame of “Hell is us”, 2012. Single-channel video, sound, 5´37´´ (5) Marina Núñez. “Untitled (monsters)”, 2008. Digital image on light box, 37×45 cm.