Text by Tiago de Abreu Pinto for Maraña, April 2021
Camila has been making (more direct) drawings. Something she had not done in a long time because she always found an excuse (more or less sincere) to not make a simple drawing (i.e. classical academic). And, assuming the classic aspect of her pleasure in drawing, she had started making large format drawings. But the problem remained: what to draw? Since all artistic gesture, in spite of… Better yet: all artistic gesture, from the moment it has a link with the figurative, automatically establishes a link with the symbolic and with things that are difficult to explain in such a short time and few words. Because at that time the symbolic seemed to her to be denaturalized (i.e. far from spiritual, too moral). And then the same problem: what to draw. That is why she started the rabbit series because it allowed her to do continuous line drawings. And, if we focus on the technique, the continuous line allowed her to create large formats (i.e. a meter fifty by a meter twenty approximately) and give the line the necessary energy. What it represented was secondary. This line -in this way- had not been present in her work before. Or maybe it had. Perhaps at the time of the profiles (i.e. a series of face outline drawings that might have been a pretext to make these images. Per viam: at the time she had decided that a profile was almost an automatic drawing, what allowed her to relax the line and obtain figuration without the symbolic quality, even if there was some ambiguity. There was no place for ‘pentimento’). In any case, she was interested in spontaneity. She needed to produce an image quickly. This is the reason why she worked in series, repeating, not looking for excellence in drawing. But rather, taking immediate note. That’s why she related the drawing to a certain spiritual or psychological state or something to do with thought. The rabbit drawings had been done with translucent paper in two or three layers and at the beginning the idea was to think in the ‘pentimento’ method in drawing but in a very constructed way (with the idea of adding, not hiding; following modern sketching tradition) and this was very provocative, she realized that instead of being repentance drawing she had generated animated drawing. There was a more direct relationship to movement. There was this mental activity, this instability (i.e. the fact of being in movement and being a fixed image) that pierced through the drawing. ‘Pentimento’ was new to her practice. The drawing process was for her something like a charm. Mind you: the animated part (i.e. the soul) of the drawing is what interested her. And she saw herself as ‘spiritual’ in this way. She constantly played with distances and that is why there were so many changes in format. ‘Pentimento’, in turn, had infiltrated modern art as something relevant but it was nothing more than a spontaneous aesthetic decision. In the end, its importance came from the fact that it was something that had been with us since cave painting. Those were the historical palimpsests. And we could understand drawing as a plasmic skeleton. For her, decision making while drawing was directed towards something symbolic or very powerful. With painting there came matter and, with it, other poetics. But when drawing creating matter was hard work. That was why she believed that in drawing, movement was her raw material. The fact of not taking a decision… there was something there too. The fragility when searching for the composition in her mind, in her eyes. Reaching such a moment of instability in the figure that it makes it impossible to finish it. The expectation: how far can she take her vision on paper? A well-balanced drawing in progress was also considered ‘finished work’. The subject was chosen: a remote echo to something psychological (i.e. a souvenir, an everyday situation). What does a meter fifty rabbit waving at you mean? Would it refer to certain values and value judgement? Or would it refer to fear? Politics? About earth? Or perhaps moon cycles? Or about Watership hill? Or about what disappears in the shadows? Would it be a reference to hierophany? Maybe to Patrice Egan’s rabbit head? Or to Carroll’s white rabbit or to the Wachowski sisters’ simulacrum? Or something beyond that we can’t see in the drawing? A nightmare, because undefined? Would it refer by its cosmogony, to intimacy and freedom? Or would it be simply a visual mantra? Definitive are certain things we do everyday, like the dishes. All of a sudden when a glass was stuck inside another glass she observed: the line, the transparency, a large number of problematics related to drawing and, above all, the tragicomic topo-psychological accident (i.e. the mind territory we cannot handle). Would we cry or laugh? It is a continuous process. And in this visible, naked construction process, by performing these immediate actions, she would pay attention to certain, almost imperceptible, aspects that took on another dimension. There they were: a glass with some liquid in it inside another glass with the same liquid: the liquid’s reflection on the surface of the glass. Iconography, in its escence, is invocation. “Sometimes words that seem to express really invoke”. She knew it was a matter of responsibility. Assuming responsibility when you draw. She knew that when she created an image a magic power was invoked. And she experienced it when drawing. In the end, we are a mould for what we see. And why give the drawings this dimension? Why enlarge them? She had begun to enlarge drawings when she was studying. At the time of google images, she used them with the bad quality they had. When printed, the images came out in their natural size: tiny. And, from then on, she copied them to later enlarge them revealing all sorts of micro-elements that we do not normally see at plain sight (i.e. dirt, brush hairs). The images were awful, they had to do with internet’s poor taste that began to show in mid 2000, the moment when internet was consolidating as a territory made up of crude and cheap elements. And then, she started to enjoy enlargement. Particularly the information substance contained in something. Revealing it through enlargement. And now she did it by hand, she copied it directly by hand. There seemed to be no rules. The eye machine and the sensitive drawing that must keep all its qualities. In the case of one glass stuck onto another, that happened to her once and after this chance encounter she imagined all possibilities. There was no copy after that occasion. Everything became fiction after seeing the stuck glasses. They were part of a family of everyday drawings she was doing (i.e. a group of drawings that started with the jugs in two thousand seventeen that at the time were interpreted as twisting profile-containers because it was a deviation of the utilitarian aspect of the object and had sprung, in part, from an interpretation of Mme Bovary -who did not fulfill her initial function- and also from her interest in the story household objects can generate; this in turn inspired by an episode of A hundred years of solitude when the daughter, worried because her father does not return home, covers his dinner plate so the food would not get cold -incident that also inspired a series of covered plates). And she did that because the drawing generated possibilities. Even if it was complicated since it is a medium that is sometimes ignored (i.e. an artist’s drawings are considered his or her production’s waste -if they define themselves as sculptors or painters). To a certain extent she liked this potential: it was not clear whether the drawing was waste or something central in her production. The sensation was of something that seemed not to be finished, completed – otherwise it would become charm, product. The drawing was for her like a close box and it had to be opened so that it would lose its domesticity. And it was also a child representational operation (i.e. when children begin or stop including themselves in drawings). She had never stopped including herself in drawings. She had never ceased to be those trapped glasses, those restless rabbits. And this centralized figure was not only the fear of the blank page: all that white, that absence, that dramatic silence, that page almost empty, with a word. But let us not linger in this sensory-compositional-imagetic space and let’s think about Camila’s practice (i.e. a continuous dramatic and theatrical process). The drawing’s subjects were like characters keeping her company. In other words, what she was representing was a growing relationship. And the characters, the people, the masks and the theatrical space were extremely relevant because when Camila began her university art studies she made several videos where she was the main character and alluded to the inability to create: not knowing what to inscribe on a canvas -in a Marion Mack fashion, like a silent film. The playful aspect was central to her practice. We could think of these illustrated signs’ materiality in real space. She was thinking about that. About what would happen if the rabbit turned into something concrete, tangible, heavy, smelly. What would happen if her illustrated signs turned into real objects? From these thoughts came up an illustrated sign very close to its somatic appearance and this is how she filled the materiality sign (her artist self) and the fictional sign (that generates a prototype of the “real”). In this way, she was pointing to the pragmatism of fiction. Since “fiction is not metaphysical or ontological” because it depends on the pact with the viewer or the reader. And so, in this diegetic space created by Camila, a potential ‘fictional self’ was being created by formal analogy. This ‘fictional self’ participated in or knew or was in line with Camila’s own subject (in an abysmal mirrored narration): the jug, the rabbit and a new element: blood. Perhaps because of its deliberate character? Perhaps because of the responsibility in chosing a subject? And why all these questions? Why should we understand so well who made the drawings? There is a serious quality to the drawing (i.e. it’s its result), even if this serious quality is not in the dynamics of her work or creative process. Playfulness has more to do with the process. What kind of artist does one aspire to be? What is the artistic mould one builds for oneself? In this watercolored ‘fictional self’ the subject referred to a group (a cast), unsolved and undefined like signs thrown about (cast) and moulded (cast) by her hand on the paper. Her driving force: an alphabet of emotional presence. Translated from spanish by Ana Verona
Text by Margaux Bonopera during the Opera Residency, Arles, June 2021
L’édition de Camila Farina Folle, sur la terrasse réalisée à l’occasion de sa résidence à l’Opéra (juin 2021) est composée de six dessins produits à l’aide d’un crayon bleu inactinique. Cette qualité permet d’effacer toute trace du crayon au moment d’une reproduction photocopiée ou scannée. Ces six dessins représentent des éléments issus du contexte domestique de la résidence : chaise, plantes, chat. S’ils sont clairement identifiables à l’aide du dessin, ils sont tous recouverts de texte, suivant la forme des objets et, au demeurant illisible. Mais alors, pourquoi réaliser des dessins dont la reproduction est impossible et des textes dont le sens a disparu ?
Dans cet ensemble, l’écriture devient le fond et la matrice des dessins qu’on aurait pu imaginer coloriés, tramés ou laissés en réserve. On comprend alors rapidement que l’écriture dans ce cadre à une fonction plus plastique que symbolique. Camila Farina insiste sur l’importance du geste dans cette écriture, qui agit comme une libération émotionnelle. Ici, le texte a moins vocation à produire du sens et du discours que de participer au renforcement des formes au préalablement dessinées. Ainsi, les mots et phrases accumulées sur les dessins (et volontairement altérés par l’artiste) demeure avant tout un exercice. Une intimation (comme le développe Jacques Derrida dans on échange avec Simon Hantaï et Jean-Luc Nancy dans le recueil La connaissance des textes, lecture d’un manuscrit illisible, 2013, Galilé) ou autrement dit, selon le philosophe, de la disparition par saturation.
Saturation. Sur plus, trop de, over-dose, marre, merde, stop. Limite. Se sentir, devenir, border. Camila m’a évoqué durant la résidence être amenée à flirter avec ce qu’elle nomme des « états limites ». Ces moments durant lesquels les expériences physiques plus ou moins tendues donnent lieu à des productions, artistiques et parfois, à des angoisses. Ainsi, si le titre de cette édition dévoile un état dans lequel Camila Farina s’est projetée, incarnée ou pensée au cours de cette résidence, il révèle aussi la prise de conscience de ses propres limites, en tant que femme et artiste, ou inversement. Accepter, ou ne pas avoir le choix, d’être dans un état “border” devient alors le point de départ d’un espace de création immense et sans fin, un espace-temps sans rendre de compte ou offrir du sens. Un espace-temps plus lié aux émotions qu’à la raison, plus à la recherche de formes que d’arguments.
Au cours de son séjour à Arles, Camila a eu l’occasion de se re-confronter à l’écriture de Van Gogh. Un face à face avec la plasticité de l’écriture du peintre qui évoluait au grès de ses humeurs, peurs, désirs, certitudes. Ainsi, la graphie devient aussi puissante que le trait d’un pinceau et les objets représentés dans Folle, sur la terrasse, aussi rassurants que non importants. Pas importants car juste là, utilisés, utiles, fonctionnels. Mais bien constituants d’une réalité sur laquelle Camila Farina a décidé pour une fois de se reposer. Je ne peux m’empêcher de penser aux dessins réalisés par l’artiste avant cette résidence. Des grands formats, en noir et blanc, techniquement merveilleux et conceptuellement puissant : des objets de vaisselles s’encastrant de manière impossible, un lapin dédoublé dont le trait laisse supposer un mouvement…etc. Dans tous les cas, les dessins de Camila de cette période se laissent lire comme des fragments d’un monde insoluble, non-compréhensible. Une réalité extérieure face à laquelle elle décidait d’entretenir, volontairement ou pas, un rapport contrarié.
Pour cette série de dessin produite à l’Opéra, la réalité est toujours projetée comme un décor extérieur mais les éléments ne sont plus branlants, incompatibles ou cassés. Non, Folle, sur la terrasse présente des objets partagés sur lesquels Camila Farina vient déposer des pensées altérées, qui donnent naissance à des formes simples, flottantes, ectoplasmiques, dont la fonction, si l’on en cherche une, pourrait bien être de rester à coté de nous quand le ventre gargouille et que le cœur s’emballe.