Marina Vargas, artist: “The art system is modulated by camaraderie and the silencing of violence” | Culture | EUROtoday

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The slim hall that divides the rooms of the Fernando Pradilla gallery in Madrid is occupied by seven arms made with polychrome polyester resin, during which in signal language the 2 phrases that give the work its title will be learn from left to proper: “It's over”. Made this 12 months, the piece is a powerful declaration of intentions by the Granada artist Marina Vargas (43 years previous) within the wake of the Spanish soccer gamers after the non-consensual kiss of Luis Rubiales to Jenni Hermoso, a cry that has gone all over the world. world and which has been fueled by the latest revelations of sexual harassment on this planet of cinema, revealed by EL PAÍS. The piece is a part of the exhibition Anonymous was a Woman, which will be visited till March 16.

It had been greater than two years since Vargas's latest work had been seen in an exhibition. Represented in quite a few private and non-private collections, the artist has starred in exhibitions since 2011. A multidisciplinary creator, her installations, sculptures or movies are the results of anthropological analysis on religions, rituals or sexuality. From a all the time feminist viewpoint, Vargas often makes use of the method as a standard thread in every of her works. Drama and sweetness go hand in hand in her inventive manufacturing.

An intensive record of particular person exhibitions allowed his work to be identified in up to date artwork museums, comparable to Las Palmas or Málaga, and in worldwide festivals via his gallery, Javier López & Fer Francés. But her profession got here to an surprising halt in the summertime of 2018, on the Santander Art Fair. Vargas reported having been shouted insulted and slapped by Fernando Francés, then director of the Center for Contemporary Art of Málaga and father of Fer Francés, one in every of her companions who represented her. Vargas instantly detailed what occurred on the Santander police station and on her Facebook account. What got here subsequent was a succession of disasters that unnecessarily extended her struggling as a result of the documentation supporting the grievance (pictures taken with surveillance cameras) was misplaced.

The multidisciplinary artist Marina Vargas portrayed in the Fernando Pradilla Gallery in Madrid.
The multidisciplinary artist Marina Vargas portrayed within the Fernando Pradilla Gallery in Madrid. Santi Burgos

Despite the shortage of management as a result of lack of documentation, the grievance was admitted for processing in court docket quantity 4 of Santander and Fernando Francés resigned from his place as head of the Andalusian museums. In his sentencing, Judge Luis Enrique García Delgado acknowledged that there was not sufficient proof to convict him, however within the textual content that EL PAÍS has been capable of assessment, it’s mentioned that it’s unlikely that the artist had invented the argument. The decide writes that on this case “there is an evidentiary insufficiency derived not so much from the lack of reliability of the complainant's statement as from the objective insufficiency of the body of evidence to undermine the principle of presumption of innocence that protects the accused.”

In the rooms the place her latest work is now exhibited, Marina Vargas speaks glad with the consequence obtained, though she remains to be damage by the abandonment she skilled from a number of colleagues whom she thought-about pals. “I never thought that by filing a complaint a parallel ordeal would begin. The art system is modulated by camaraderie and the silencing of violence and everything is so fragile that pressure comes for free. It is enough to have the prospect of a new exhibition before you for you to leave the principles in a drawer and act as if you had not seen anything. That happened to me”.

On her tour of the exhibition, curated by Semíramis González, the artist stops before a sculpture made up of two Tuareg heads coming out of a snake. These heads turn their backs to the viewer and somehow force them to surround them. The work is titled Sibyla the one who whistles (the one who knows, the one who knows) and refers to the relationship of the snake with the feminine. Something that is repudiated in the West and considered powerful in the East.

A kind of temple with three collages large format, made up of thousands of circular drawings that refer to astrological signs, runes, occult symbols and symbols linked to female deities. When the image has its tongue sticking out, it means that a secret has been revealed. The figures sport colorful tattoos that can be seen as scars that certify the mistreatment that many women suffer.

Marina Vargas next to one of her installations that make up the exhibition.
Marina Vargas next to one of her installations that make up the exhibition. Santi Burgos

Illness and loneliness

A few days after learning the sentence in the trial against the cultural manager, Marina Vargas also learned that she was suffering from breast cancer. She was operated on and treated at the Doce de Octubre hospital in Madrid. “In order not to spare me any suffering,” says the artist with nice resignation, “all of this happened in the middle of a pandemic. I had to be alone and isolated in the hospital. A hospital bacteria delayed her release. Luckily, when I got home, the most attentive person in the world was waiting for me, my partner.”

Aware of the healing power of art and the importance of sharing feelings, Marina Vargas contacted other women artists who had gone through cancer. At the moment, there are 15 that have joined together to create Intra-Venus, a support and visibility network based in Madrid. At the door of the building, a Venus welcomes the visitor. She is not the classic model because she is missing a breast. This beautiful woman sculpted on Carrara marble has had a mastectomy. “This sculpture is performative,” Vargas said at the presentation, “I wanted it to record the imprint of how my body was at that moment, it is also a tribute to all the women who have gone through that moment.” The sculpture will be one of the 28 works signed by women that can be seen in New Worlds: Women to Watch 2024, at the National Museum of Women Artists in Washington.

Abuses in the artistic sector

The exhibition has a lot to do with the feminist demands of Granada. “Anonymous was a Woman It is a project, on the one hand, experiential and I could dare to say that it is a work that collects the complaints and narratives of abuse in our sector. Being an exhibition very much in line with the times we are living in in which there are many of us who decide to break the silence and recognize ourselves and value being a link in a long chain of change.”

The artist adds that in Anonymous was a Woman, secrets and denunciations take shape through the mask, an instrument that commands women. “The installation,” he details, “focuses on African pieces as an idea from which to rescue the entire process of the work and to use art as a transformative tool and as catharsis, because that is what a mask is for.”

Each masked woman has a story or a secret revealed. This is how the second room of the gallery is configured, in which the masks are presented to us in a semicircle, facing the viewer, surrounding them and facing the series of photos in which the masks have been activated and the secrets discovered. Each person hides with a piece related to the reason why they want to hide. The installation is completed with a monitor, which captures the feeling of helplessness that many anonymous women suffer. “It is a video recorded at home in my studio. There I have been receiving in privacy and creating our ritual so that, like an endless story, all the stories are recorded with the masked voices. “I invite the viewer to listen and take sides on these issues that many do not want to hear or see.”

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