From where does our relationship with reality come? How is the experience of both the world and ourselves established? In a time of social isolation, we are led to reflect on the subjective frame that underlies our narratives, our individual and collective certainties, practices, and habits. By taking place in the realm of recollection, this reflection embraces the potentiality of a distant point of view, which is essential for an attentive observation of the meanings carried by the cultural practices and their embedment in intersubjective relations.
The worldview that we find in Cristina Mejías' work suits entirely in this framework. Starting from oral tradition and knowledge as her primary subjects, the artist develops a set of reflections, through which the intertwining of reality and fiction becomes explicit. Within her various visual proposals (which stem from the artist's close and engaged position), the importance of this intertwining for the formation of beliefs and habits is highlighted; which is also true for our manifold forms of knowledge and their associated narratives. Accordingly, giving a closer look at Mejías' work, we can perceive a branching in several sub-topics, which, nevertheless, end up bringing us back to the initial subject.
The selection of works here presented invite us to take a journey through the creative processes of stories, imaginary and knowledge, as well as the dynamic relationships established between them. We are taken by the hand and guided through stories that tell us about other stories; we pass through images from different geographies which, although seemingly detached one from another, arise unified in Mejías' universe. From story to story, from image to image, her worldview pierces ours: its meanings are apprehended, reformulated and transmitted… Thus, if in our experience of the present day, we have been inadvertently misguided, and following T. S. Eliot, an approach to the meaning enable us to restore the experience.
LA MÁQUINA DE MACEDONIO
In "La Máquina de Macedonio" Cristina Mejías addresses the close relationship between habits and collective fictions in the formation of stories. The artist starts from the dialogue between two different sources: a story-generator artefact (taken from Ricardo Piglia's novel "La Ciudad Ausente") and custom of the Wayúu indigenous community, in Maracaibo (Venezuela). This custom consists of the report of dreams, and subsequent interpretation in collective key— an activity that plays an important role in organizing the meaning of the past and future. Within this keen observation of the Wayúu oral tradition, Mejias establishes a parallel between the weaver's craft and the dream teller. Hence, the nature of the narrative construction manifests itself, with its inevitable transformations, exposing the invisible thread of meaning that unites objects, images and words.
View of the exhibition ‘Generación 2020’, at La Casa Encendida, Madrid. © Christian Lagata, 2020
View of the exhibition ‘Generación 2020’, at La Casa Encendida, Madrid. © Manuel Blanco/La Casa Encendida, 2020
La máquina de Macedonio, 2020. © Christian Lagata, 2020