This graphical intervention was based on digital drawing, extended to the real space.
I made the outlines with reflective tape of holographic and iridescent qualities in an illuminated atmosphere, which acts as absorbing and reflecting the light in the dark- a material unstable to perception, fluctuating between the visible and invisible. This subject was also present in the installation of a system of stroboscopic lights. A pulse of arrhythmic and unpredictable (unphotographable) light, acting on tied and suspended mosquito nets, upon an ambiguous drawing of electrical wires set on the floor.
The same shadows
Ticio Escobar, August 2006
The primary operation of Claudia Missana's work consists of the marking of spaces. Her work identifies places that are laden with connotations. It interferes with them in a way that, by dislocating briefly their landmarks and positions, discovers faults in their terrain that allow us to glimpse at their subterranean links to other areas. These intrusions reveal imperceptible sides: adjacencies between public and private spaces, fissures that open up memories, erosion produced by steps, by the dark winds of time and by everyday life. As reference marks, this unexpected damage allows for the drawing up of new cartographic diagrams from which to re-space or minimally dislocate space to leave room for an event.
As such, this work has a performance quality: it jumps out of the scene of representation to enter the abrupt dominions of reality and to discuss, from there, the established contour of that scene. By creating a minimal opening, it destabilizes the foundations of a certainty.
Some of her interventions in Santiago address reality, seeking to correct it through the logic of images, as a means to an end. (In digitally restoring, pixel by pixel, the façade of a museum, she amends the idleness of facts; recovers the destruction of the Tsunami in Valdivia…) Yet, her interferences in space also attempt to move it, to relocate it: to submit it to the imminence of a deadline. (To graph squares on a funeral wall. To reveal the geometry that supports the plan of abandoned houses: to raise the quadrilateral tiles of the floors to indicate the passage to the other side, to trace the profiles of abundance or absence, or to draw the invisible background that supports what is visible).
Photography acts as a mediating device in this work: the documentary record bears witness to the facts of what cannot be exposed, the replacement of presence, and a correction of failures or factual excesses. Positioned as the third eye, the one that watches the place of space construction, the camera keeps a distance: there is always a residue, a warning- the blow up effect produced by the insistence of looking. An effect of the intervention appears on the side of the reality, the other solely appears in the image.
In places where the overwhelming weight of history and memory has fractured the sustenance of the image, such operations of interference are forced to the extreme of their resources. They must sharpen them, perhaps even diminish them. They must have a lateral approach to this space, exhausted by such excessive weight (that non-existing place, that emptiness). This is the challenge that Claudia Missana assumes when, in the exhibition titled The Same Heaven, she confronts the disproportionate but also desolate spaces that occupy the memory of the File of Terror (and its associated campaign, the Cóndor Operation). Both are figures that leave us without words, without figures.
This paralysis of the image is both a symptom and problem of contemporary art in addressing a catastrophe. Contrary to positions such as Lyotard's, who asserts the representational value of silence when dealing with the holocaust (characterized as unspeakable and unthinkable: the Kantian sublime, the Lacanian reality…), voices like those of Ranciére or Didi-Huberman demand the ethical necessity of imagining, in spite of everything, the exorbitant figure of Auschwitz. The image will never be able to realize the hecatomb, but it will be able to briefly illuminate an aspect of it. Perhaps art, as poetry, is only able to offer that "moment of truth" (Hanna Arendt); enabling us to glimpse what is beyond all possible understanding, through images whose flashing lights illuminate zones inaccessible to words.
Using reflecting tape, Claudia traces two systems of figures on the walls. On one hand, she delineates three schemes of squares: each exact figure contains the other four in its lower part. These discreetly represent the cases of the Files of Terror, the secret documentary history of repression in Paraguay; records of kidnappings and tortures, military imprisonments and deaths. These empty squares, these silhouettes of niches or graves, enlighten their exact forms, inflamed by the work of memory and ignited by the fluorescent aura that instills fear and forces us to turn our eyes aside.
On the other wall, she draws up the silhouette of a corpse: a political prisoner, who like so many others in Paraguay and Chile, would have been put in a bag to be thrown into a river or into the sea. The lines are drawn up with reflecting tape, arranged not in continuous form, but in an irregular manner, with a spiny border line made of tiny reticules which allude to the form of pixels. The combination of cold light / darkness produces a kind of flashing figure which appears, electrified and spectral, suspended in the vacant space of the white-painted walls. "The authentic image of the past only appears like a flash", says Benjamin. It can only be summoned by reflecting its empty profiles in the darkness of what cannot be represented, nor should be forgotten.