persona. Video HD 16.58min.



“…there must have been a time of lumpy, larval life, without distinction. A great swamp of life, all at the same height, in the same phase: viscous, blind, mobile life.”

Juan José Saer 1

An organic, dark and viscous matter moves on the floor and concrete walls of the second floor of Fundación Andreani: something of the order of the strange and the inadequate, something that does not fit, that we don´t quite know what it is. Between living matter and cadaveric rest, it parasitizes the building, turning it into a decomposing universe where everything becomes fluid and unstable.

La larva y el pantano brings together works of art by Julia Padilla and Liv Schulman which were made especially for this occasion, based on an exploration of the specific architecture of the place, to investigate the capacities of the formless, the ominous and the unintelligible. Both proposals incorporate the building as a constitutive part of the work. Rather than a mere stage, space becomes the protagonist, speculating about its future, its multiple layers of time or divergent realities. It thus behaves like a living organism, which gives rise to processes of putrefaction, metamorphosis and germination. The borders that separate bodies and space are diluted to explore new relationships and dismantle the normative taxonomies built on the binary oppositions of subject and object, figure and background, form and discourse.

Based on the history of the building and the notion of metamorphosis as the agency of matter, Julia Padilla exhibits Caricia ignea, an installation that evokes superimposed temporalities and continuous mutations through the encounter between different materials that lose all reference to their origin. Surface copulations, symbiotic and parasitic existences, arise from the assemble between fragments of artificial and natural objects that suggest hybrid beings between animals, plants and machines. These pieces are contained between large surfaces of indefinite and watery appearance, which alter according to the surrounding conditions. The walls shed their skin.

Liv Schulman, for her part, presents Persona, an audiovisual work starring the artist herself, which narrates a fiction set in the same space where the exhibition takes place. In her efforts to film a movie about the appearance of a giant and sensual leech in a community, the character wanders around the room, which is transformed as the story unfolds. Meanwhile, she loses the limits of her body. Grounded in an insane use of language that stresses fiction with absurd humor, the video investigates the erasure of identities as well as desires and anxieties of contemporary society.

Against the narratives of domination and individualism that, under the assumption of reason and appealing to the light as their privileged metaphor, founded modernity, the works of Schulman and Padilla invite us to delve into the darkness of the indeterminate, between the torrent of convoluted speeches and the evocation of touch that makes other sensible worlds available.

Mercedes Claus

Guest curator, ciclo Desafíos I

Translated by Luchía Arturi

1 Juan José Saer, Papeles de trabajo, Borradores inéditos, Buenos Aires, Seix Barral, 2012, p. 345.