Artists conversations, 2016

INCERTIDUMBRE / Decay

The artists Monica Fuster and Agustín Ortiz gather in this project to reflect on the artistic scope circumscribing some of their works. This is an excerpt of one of these conversations. In it they talk about the common and divergent aspects between two of their art works, "Incertidumbre" by Mònica Fuster and "Decay" by Agustín Ortiz.

A: Sometimes when I think back on "Decay", images of your art work "Incertidumbre" come to me. It occurs to me that between the two works there are certain commonalities, such as the theme of the life cycle. Apparently the two proposals seem to go in opposite directions, mine speaks of decadence and yours, in principle, of the creation. Maybe your work reproduces a larger cycle, which, although it begins with the first-strata of life, in the end decadence comes inevitably and takes the lead on the final stage of the process. But one might mention that the real point in common is the cycle. In "Decay" a clay figure breaks down in the initial magma that created it, dust and water. In yours the cycle is also complete, the death leaves dormant life waiting for good conditions to start the process again.

M: In both pieces the key is in its cycle, in it’s transformation process, change, metamorphosis. About the project “Incertidubre” the initial idea was to see what would happen if you use paper instead of dirt as a substrate, plus the help of water and light. The idea was to observe if in this medium mustard seeds ( Brassica campestris ) could germinate and not only that, but as well the action itself would contain all the implicit sense of uncertainty, this inevitably refers to an essential meaning of existence and the processes of creation, which are for me the cornerstones of the proposal I call "poetic action". In "Decay" dust slowly dissolves in water and is again the dregs of that dust in the bottom and by its weight. In "Incertidumbre" , the crop paper germinates across the “concept / word” breaking through the cotton pulp , then micro-gardens and micro- landscapes caused by lichens and mosses take shape on paper, this aspect interests me very much because all the evocative strength arises from its own decomposition , another point in common with "Decay".

A: I agree. In both works is also very present the reflection on the process of creation. In "Incertidumbre" life breaks through inevitably and unpredictably, as noted in the title. What apparently is under control ends up taking contingency plans. In "Decay" the destruction process can not be more random, the decomposition takes relevance highlighting the visual and creative aspect of the act. In both works the beauty is expressed through unusual channels and this action serves of a metaphorical action. One can find beauty in the most unexpected places, as in our lives as well, at any point in the life cycle. In the creation and death, growth and decay.

M: I’m interested in the thoughts that you aim about the unpredictability of life, to which I would add that nature is governed by its own laws unknown to us. And about beauty, it is true that exist in the most unexpected places but often terrible, that’s the quest, or rather the great discovery that takes us by surprise and snatch us away completely, and I understand that right there it must be the key of the befitting creative act.

A: I do not know much about the starting point that you provided as basis for the creation of "Incertidumbre" that would perhaps be an interesting asset to contrast. But I can explain about the beginning of "Decay". This action is, in fact, the repetition of a game that I realized in my teens. Therefore, the recovery of memory is an important element. Youth is invoked here, in addition to the recreation of a childhood game, by the element introduced in the water, and it serves as the starting point of an inevitable and unpredictable process, even though, according to our experience, we know the end in advance. The beauty and the agony go together, in this case corresponded the first one with the visual aspect and the second with the sonorous. Indeed, one has to make an effort to discover the beauty, it is deconstructed in some way. If we know how to change the prevailing perspective we discover that life can be beautiful in its continuous decomposition.

M: The idea of the project came to me when reading a text by German physicist Weiner Heisenberg where I came with the conclusion that a particle can be in two places at once , traveling in opposite directions and even be in two opposite poles of the hemisphere and be influenced one by another. The reality is uncertain and the uncertainty principle rules life. This concept caught me so there it came the idea of producing the piece and observe what was happening in it, but also with me and with others, because back then it made sense building it in a considerable size so that it could be walked through, observed closely and experienced in all its processes.

Here the sound would be imperceptible but obviously it exist , when germinating and mutating and drying out all together, also I think that if I repeat it some day I would place a high precision equipment that could record these sounds to amplify them, something like cavitations. So, in a hidden way, there are subtle sound relationships between Decay and Incertidumbre. And another very relevant aspect that gives meaning to its live dimension and large format is the smell , the scent given off by the seeds when germinating and go rotting , the smell of lichens and mosses resulting of the putrefaction and the intense odor that remains submerged in the pulp once everything stays away from water and dries up.

In relation to the body and the memory I might say that all emerged micro- landscapes look different stages of life and its latitudes are like body temperatures in relation to these stages or phases.

I wonder how much influence it exerts nature over the conscience of the impermanent meaning of life. The self-confrontation among ones great bewilderment. Every moment is the last moment, or what would be the same, the last time comes back eternally. Here perhaps I respond to what you ask me later about the passage of time. But the key issue for me is always poetic: the perceptive vision that is done with the emotional encounter with nature, there is made as a poetic recreation with the landscape because everything is within us.

A: I want also bring a reflection on the passage of time that is present in the two works. In yours time takes an almost corporeal role. All elements , paper , seeds , water , light , air, are placed in an accurate way so that the time can run the miracle of life , the connecting element without which the work would lose operability , and perhaps all its sense. The work is to be observed on a given space and time, granting it with an almost magical intense magnetism. (M: Also hidden , to be unveiled ) The transformation is continuous and diverse and do not depend on any other will but of the interaction of the elements. We observe and reflect on the process , enjoyed or suffered it , but it requires our presence in that shared space and time. However in my video , the time comes already manipulated. Through the trick of editing the perception we have of the process it is accelerated. In the art work time is an illusion that can also be revived as a constant going back to the beginning. The returning to the idea of the cycle. Memory is also an illusion , just as our perception of the present time. The video must be exposed in an endless loop, only the viewer decides when he or she have enough of the exposed reality and leaves the room to acquire, immediately, a memory. Similar process to what initiated the art work idea, the recovery of the memory of childhood. M: Interesting !

M: Finally I will say that my intention was to recycle the paper after the expiry of all the action and grind it again to use it as the basis for a book artist who reflect upon uncertainty making use as visual database the project images, or more specifically of those unexpected landscapes that have arisen. Something like joining the processes of a naturalist with the existential poetry of action, and in this I am working in collaboration with the writer José Carlos Llop. Actually I don’t know yet what he will do but it is also part of the uncertainty. As someone told me, is the spice of life!

A: Yes, life is impermanency and we have to learn how admire the nature that is within us to achieve some understanding, albeit is an arduous task, it can help us to grasp the meaning of the journey that we are on.

Mònica Fuster Agustín Ortiz

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