Portable paradise and hell 

On the expanded work of Nélida Mendoza

curator: Fernando More

sound designer: Juanchi Franco

 

Nélida Mendoza is an artist born in Paraguay in the late 1950s, which is to say during the first years of the dictatorship, and settled in Italy three decades ago. In this exhibition at Casa Mayor de Asunción, he presents drawings, textiles and sound images, whose existential and memory themes interpret the course of a physical and temporal journey. 


Regarding monochrome drawing, the central core of the exhibition, it can be understood a

s the original language in which to inscribe a space, landscape, an empty and full locus, built in full or empty forms, positive and negative. Sometimes these spaces are populated in pregnant forms with others, or they are defined in great detail and generate a geometrizing composition, allowing themselves to be seen as imprecise and labile.

 

On these drawings other papers are added, successively forming layers and glazes, densifying them tactilely and visually. What takes place in these intricate places is complicated, the visible tension in the gestures of the line suggests a landscape of the confinement, an ambiguous scenario between presence and absence.

 

Similar to the photographic punctum, the cavities and dark folds concentrate the first glance, both on papers and on textile pieces. A certain balance between symmetry and balance of antagonistic elements of light and shadow, optically lead to the site of a secret, of a wound, perhaps.

 

This contrasting drawing of broken lines and directed towards an entropic black hole, seems to be created to look in a mirror, in a reverse rotation. It is probably there, in these black spaces like eyes, where what you have fled the most shines from, the gloomy wasteland, the dark face engulfed in memory.

 

The creator shows us here the plot of her narrative strategy: like a loom of threads to describe - through drawing, the textile collage-object or sound - where to stage her fidelity to memory and identity construction.

 

(Symbolic) circumstances of a biography

 

Nélida migrates, as a child, with her parents to Argentina, and from South America to Italy. But more interesting here are the symbolic consequences produced by biography, the centrifugal drives that emigration produces as a huge literary and artistic theme.

 

Trained in Fine Arts in Buenos Aires, and later in Sculpture in Carrara, Italy, she develops her work as an artist and teacher in the peninsula and in Sicily. His work is nourished by South American and European cultural miscegenation. What unites her to her country of origin is the formal and mental reconfiguration of her memory, like a raft that saved her awareness of her origins and universality.

 

Her work insists, on a formal and metaphorical level, on the ubiquity of places, stories and experiences, which by force of being represented, would act as symbols of emancipation and catharsis. Forms that are sometimes juxtaposed, tied or knotted, indicating borders and limits, affirming their psychological, social and cultural horizon.

 

Words like departure, diaspora, loss; or search, attention and reward, are common in the discourse on migration or exile: in the twists and turns between lands and seas possible cartographies of experience are translated, sketches torn by small feats and great fears. A regular visitor to his country and interested in his current paths, the ingredients of Nélida Mendoza's narrati ve cuisine are still recognized from this imprint of formal abstraction, from where he can prepare recipes enriched by the experiential and geographical transit.

 

Words like departure, diaspora, loss; or search, attention and reward, are common in the discourse on migration or exile: in the twists and turns between lands and seas possible cartographies of experience are translated, sketches torn by small feats and great fears. A regular visitor to his country and interested in his current paths, the ingredients of Nélida Mendoza's narrative cuisine are still recognized from this imprint of formal abstraction, from where he can prepare recipes enriched by the experiential and geographical transit.

 

Come and go, eternal return (s), ambiguous feeling of being and not being; wanting to be part of a land that never will be, but still attached to memory; love and hate an origin; long for and forget a culture. In these flat and three-dimensional line stories, as well as in the sound, we update The Odyssey, replacing Ulysses with this Penelope recorder of her journey and training: a traveler capable of transplanting pieces of a laborious inner tissue, endearing and at the same time, strangely family.

 

Fernando Moure

Köln am Rhein, 08.09.2018

© by Nelida Mendoza.

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