june 2008

JUNE 2008

Mònica Fuster etches fanciful flora and fauna onto large Plexiglas plates.

In three short films from “Traç,” creatures from the etchings turn into animated silhouettes and tell stories.

Mònica Fuster’s medium of choice is drawing, but not drawing for drawing’s sake: she uses drawing as the basis for installations that also incorporate sculpture, prints, performance, sound, and video. “I try to take the drawing off the paper, just as I try to take the weight out of the sculpture,” says Fuster. “If I spent all my time drawing, I would end up bored. But my installations are very demanding physically, and if I worked on them all the time, I would end up exhausted. So I try to keep a healthy balance.”

A good example of Fuster’s work was offered in a multipart show titled “Traç” at the Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation in her hometown of Palma, Majorca, in 2006. The centerpiece was an installation of large Plexiglas plates onto which the artist had etched drawings that conjured a fairy-tale or mythological world of plant and animal life, involving the likes of unicorns, strange fruit, and centaurs. The arcane imagery was imbued with a sense of metamorphosis, as when a bird’s ample plumage blended into a tree’s foliage or a muscular masculine torso acquired a keen-eyed bird’s head. In the darkened gallery, Fuster choreographed a sequence of lighting effects, further transforming her imagery with alternating reflections and shadows. In an accompanying video, hybrid figures from the drawings resurfaced as shadows (cast by actors) and cavorted as if in a Balinese shadow play. The overall effect was suggestive of the erotic as well as the sinister.

Last month Fuster displayed a reconfiguration of the works in “Traç” in the group show “In Flux” at the Old Truman Brewery in London, and in 2006 she created a site-specific sculptural installation for the Reykjavik Art Museum in Iceland.

Fuster returned to Palma after earning a Ph.D. in fine art from the University of Barcelona. Her doctoral thesis was an investigation into alchemical treatises from the 16th and 17th centuries, although she emphasizes that she is interested in alchemy exclusively for its iconography, not its pseudoscientific content.

“The stories I present are open-ended, and I try to present them in an open-ended way,”she says. “Everyone who sees them puts them together to make their own film script.”

George Stolz
George Stolz is the Madrid correspondent for ARTnews.