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22 April 2022

Fire and water

In the workshop of Lara Fluxà, in Fase, from October to March is cold, but as in all workshops there was heat, like fire fed with oxygen to twist the glass. It was an ember shared with Paco Chanivet while cooking a model of 8 meters of small pieces that were grouped organically to create families, relationships between them and total belonging.

But more fire was needed because the pavilion is an elongated warehouse, brick with a wooden roof and above all large, very long, where it forced to think the gesture in another dimension, from caress to embrace and this was the challenge, the change of scale that not only consisted of the technical complication, resolved with the collaboration of Ferran Collado, master glassmaker, but also in the change of look, relocating from seeing the whole body to enter it and become part of it. Breaking an amniotic dermis by being part of this organ, going from a closed system to metabolism: an organism without limit where reactions occur in constant exchange, moving from body to landscape, an ecoton, a transition and transmutation zone of a material fecundity that rejects an ontological separation between body and vector, what Deleuze calls event-full-zone. Like slime, the encounter between water and earth. The intermediate state between solid and liquid, an eternal plasma state.

In the zone, like the Strugatsky’s, everything is possible, you must be very aware of your movements and your desires, of your body, and look carefully and cautiously at what is close to you that seduces you but is fragile, like seeing peripherally to understand the totality of which you are a part. The diffused gaze, harvesting to intuit and not define, as opposed to the central gaze of modernity and science that required transparent glass to create taxonomies.

As these bodies interconnected, imagining the circular circuit that would extract the water from the Venusian city to return it unaltered, we spoke of other things: Bach, bachata or Phillip Glass, cotton panties, affections, injuries, olive oil, the technique of transparent glass or the erotics of water, of the flow and rhythm of our liquid bodies closely linked in the hypersea. But above all of alchemy. We were interested in that circular alchemy, the matriarchal alchemy long before it was fermenting the bases of modern science – although we consider to call it prepatriarchal. That hidden in its etymology of kemé, the black mud from the banks of the Nile River that was the source of life and change, like its color. The black of the residue of the motor oil of “Verni” that engenders new ways of living with death. Contamination that is part of the metabolism rethinking an anarchic alchemy. The synthetic, the oily stone –petra oleum– which could be the philosopher’s stone, the indispensable substance to transport, becomes part of the landscape that we must assimilate and transmute again. This childhood memory that gestated “Verni” is recovered in “Slime”, a fragile and dangerous presence that engenders new modes and bodies to rethink what is to come and reconvert tumors into posthuman regeneration, an ooloi that may seem disgusting to us, but enchants and delights us!

Some nights we were late and I slept over at his house, and on one of them we watched “Le Cinquième Element” for the alchemical quest to unlearn the quintessence -also for the marvel of costumes-, a young and white Milla Jovovich and as the film says, perfect. And it is that the patriarchal alchemy pursues the transformation of the matters looking for that essence of the control of the bodies, crossed by the central look that like Pygmalion, sometimes sculpted a metaphysical perfection, the milky Galatea, white as milk and fecund not by her own grace.

The milk white, as in Carrington’s “Dream of Milk”, is also there, a liquid more viscous than water, origin of life, that will curdle in the vitreous bodies, the vibrant and viscous matter that Fluxà sculpts not with blows, but with caresses and lips. More than sculpting, he transmutes, because to transmute is to move, to circulate.

The families of pieces are numbered to facilitate logistics and vertiginous assembly, but they have nicknames that are only understood in the context of the tribe. One was Akelarre -although cocks also worked- of witches, or fairies like Arthur’s sister Fata Morgana who acts as a hinge between spiritualism and Christianity in Avalon, an island today drained by logistical optimizations. It is also a mirage that, as in Fluxà’s work of the same name, is a decentralized way of looking, because it returns the gaze kidnapped by modern glass to incarnated eyes. Its fire is not to see but to burn.

An apocryphal meaning of akelarre is hydrokinesis, aqueous transmutations and dissolved substances like Venice, a city of management of material modes, where hermetic knowledge became industrial secrets. “Slime” is many things but I have understood it to be the way in which matters become change – of state, of place, of vibration, of price, of meaning, of history…- in their contact.

Ariadna Parreu (Reus, 1982) is a sculptor. She enjoys explaining stories that could have been, that’s why she is a professor of history and theory of art and design. She is speculating on the surface to understand the matter from its etymology to its weight, because sculpture is not only “remove marble” and history is more plastic than solid. She writes it all while listening to loud music with her headphones.

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