Teresa Serrano
ARRIVING NOT TO BE A WORD ImageBy: Eduardo Egea (Mexico City)

For her first solo show at EDS Galería, conceptual artist Teresa Serrano presents a selection of recent work: An ephemeral and interactive intervention on the gallery’s floor, a half-format soap sculpture, a video and a text; this exhibition is centered on exploring the language’s density giving an account of some of the most important ongoing traits in Serrano’s work, such as the use of a wide diversity of materials through the different disciplines. The artist shows us how the wearing out and control of words are some of the greatest contemporary bastions of power and social manipulation. Teresa Serrano, with her international career of more than three decades, has been able to subvert fixed meanings that we tend to attribute to a wide range of things and situations, thus revealing them as the hidden connotations of materials, objects and human relationships, using for that a series of intuitive and suggesting strategies that can evenbe ambiguous and seductive, as well as deep and acute. The current director of the Modern Art Museum in Mexico City, Osvaldo Sánchez, named Teresa Serrano in 1998 as the heiress of the post-minimalist practices of sculptresses such as Eva Hesse or Louise Bourgeois, whose work opposed the systematic, cold and institutional character of Minimalism. This aspect of Serrano’s background is in counterpoint with the artist’s interest regarding the authoritarian and paternalistic language manipulation. Jacques Derrida has pointed out that this condition arises due to the imposition of the voice of the author or the father in the oral tradition; such matter has caused a handling of words where predetermined meanings prevails, and immutability has the possibility of being transformed for the deconstructive effect of writing and memory; a cultural proof of this authoritarian condition of the spoken language appears when a woman is told “you look prettier when you are quiet”. Serrano has explored power actions in which the word is generally used, creating an antidote for such excesses that is
close to a ritual where language becomes an object and at the same time an action; if this performing “objectuality” has always been a quality in her work, the use of this resource in regard to words acquires a particular diversity in this exhibit: Serrano reveals us the materiality of language, when the spectator literally wears it out when passing by through the gallery; then, she invites us to read an altered version of the poem written by Octavio Paz and Charles Tomlinson, Children of the Air (Hijos del
Aire, 1979) to probe how the whirlpool of contemporary society and technology have changed the way we read and write; in the sculpture made in the fashion of a huge soap of the Zote brand, a latent hygienic task is shown that would seem to appeal to social awareness; finally, in the video “RESPECT”, the artist tries to restore the sense of the word “respect” in a never-ending search of the letters that make it up in a series of places, such as a church, a hospital, the garbage deposits of Times Square, an old iron deposit in Colombia, a table dance, a court of justice and the Zócalo (Main Square downtown) in Mexico City. This type of works carried out by Teresa Serrano oppose a context where much of the current art has taken a cold and calculated distance
regarding her topics, thus the exhibit “Arriving not to be a Word” at | EDS | GALERÍA is the materialization of a more sensitive, warm and human perspective to come into contact with a pertaining topic such as language. Teresa Serrano simultaneously is showing her work at the exhbition “C.O.N.T.R.A.V.I.O.L.E.N.C.I.A.S.” (Counter violences), Koldo Mitxelena Kulturunea of San Sebastián, Spain, the show “Videoteca Efímera” (Ephemeral Videoteque) at the Jeu de Paume Museum in Paris, France, as well as,  Shadow Dance, at the Museum Kunstalh KadE, Amersfoort, Netherland.

 

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