Text published in the exhibition catalogue
CRISTINA GAMÓN. ESPEJISMOS
Valencia: Shiras Gallery, 2021
CRISTINA GAMÓN. ROOMS OF CONSCIOUSNESS
ALFONSO DE LA TORRE
We clear a space for ourselves, a stillness (…)
What about these paintings, thus subjected to the vertigo of the gaze? Neither past nor future, paintings and assemblages as places of events, “Espejismos” (Mirages) by Cristina Gamón (Valencia, 1987) are constituted as works returned to the world with an immemorial air, as if these paintings were displaced from a past or a future, as it is known: Neither the past nor the future are the place where images appear, so that these abstract and poetic creations retain an air of being solidifications of perpetual instants but where meanings reverberate and sprout as a present continuous, painting a summa of events in time and space. In them, everything returns but it does so transformed in the manner of the epiphany of another place. Complex paintings (painted on methacrylate, but also perforated, open showing their underside or the ligneous structure, of quadrangular or curved formats revealing silent symmetries and dialogues. Paintings made complex in their encounter with others, sometimes in the manner of a system of relations between diverse forms, as happens in the beautiful conjunction “The distance that separates us” (La distancia que nos separa), furthermore paintings-puzzles that are constituted by absences displaced towards other paintings. Paintings or assemblages as works with a liquid ambition, weightless constellations of colours and forces developed in an interregnum between contraction and expansion, bearers of images sometimes conceived with an agitated air such as a dilation of time, as widening of the instant, temporary ecstasies. Seeing in the artist’s studio the group of works now exhibited at Shiras gallery, these “Mirages” (Espejismos), I thought of Kafka’s “Is the dream a mirage?”: “A very ramified dream, containing at the same time a thousand correlations that become clear all at once” .
Cristina Gamón has created, this 2021, a group of works facing the representation of moments of lucidity, in the manner of exercises of introspection she would call them , arabesques of images where she explores the search for meaning, in that unexhausted exercise of thinking about oneself. Like that portrait of the Parmigianino that the poet John Ashbery wondered about and portrayed himself; in her convex mirror, Gamón also reflects on the constitution of these images, these and those that have populated the world, so it is not strange that Gamón proposes that we contemplate these new images where the manifested remains adhered to the un-manifested, the existing with the non-being, the visible found with the suture of the invisible.
All that is finite is revealed from the void, thus it should be understood in Gamón’s coexistence of pictorial supports with the presence of open spaces on the surface, absent islets in the bosom of vision, such holes that reveal the frame of the painting, its artifice, admitting, therefore, and consecrating the leaks. But the artist also proposes, with these paintings, a journey towards a mysterious and unknown other side of the world we contemplate, revealing the wall, the fragments rescued as its reflection or echo, acquiring then another entity of their own, like that stone on the shore reflected in the river. Either making assemblages of transparent elements or mobile and folding planes, evocative of the Magrittian window or Duchamp’s impossible door. For example, “Symmetrical Exercises I and II” or “Mirage”, also reminiscent of the opera aperta of the seventies, where the viewer could manipulate the paintings, unfold or close the hinged methacrylate pieces, like wings, assemblages which are evocative of the transparent displays by Gabo or Pevsner, also of the Rueda of the frame paintings or the Cruz Novillo in São Paulo.
In this way, Gamón has something of a sacrificial heir to the questions of the artists who sought the other side; the lost dimension that exists beyond the surface of the painting, as we know, among others, Fontana or Millares, and, like them, her research has often tempted those infinite holes of mystery. A lagoon inside herself, in that deepening, Gamón erects the dispossession and the fissure, not the uncertain fullness of the pictorial plane but, rather, the hole and the depth, the tearing of a lack, like the space of a loss. That the unknown renews the already known is what Gamón’s works on display proclaims, as in the beautiful open ovals with a twin air: “La distancia que nos separa I y II” (The distance that separates us I and II) or in “Echo” (Eco). For knowledge is an abyss, Gamón seems to explain to us in this trembling exhibition, she is seduced by the exercise of mystery insofar as she applies herself to the task of constructing images. But these are successively replaced by the new emergence of others, her creation is a task that is never exhausted: images-construct-images-construct, the artist seems to sentence . Returning these images to the world as if they were a system of relations, such “emblems”, a slippage of a succession of thinking images, with meaning, those denkbilder of Walter Benjamin; indispensable in her being.
In this sense, Gamón’s painting is also the revelation of a conscience, the longing painting of a creator in which the transcendent aspect of her paintings is crucial, since these “mirrors” seem to mention the painter’s search for transcendence, as if symbolising a call to become another, her displacement to a realm of grace. Declaratory titles that dodge explanations, let’s try to find clues now with their reading: “Umbrales” (Doorsteps) and certain of its subtitles: “Mise en abyme”; “Eco” (Echo); “Psique, la pintura, el espejo del mundo” (Psyche, the painting, the mirror of the world) or “La distancia que nos separa” (The distance that separates us). Speculations, which come from the speculum, it is known that, like a gold of the verb, such a hermetic and obscure interiority, Gamón seems to subscribe that revealing is a silent and strenuous work, but her work preserves something of the impulse that erected them, like the exercise of a silent vibratory speed. An augural beauty provided with lucidity, I read her explanations or mentions and I think that her images burn in such a sense-seeking unease, intertwined voices in the folds of time, that of Thomas S. Eliot presenting the beautiful installation “Blanca sombra” (White Shadow) (2018), such a resonant meditative monologue is inescapable, but also the history of the forms of painting: Burne-Jones, Delvaux or Magritte, among others mentioned by Gamón. I also thought of Whistler’s Nocture with falling rockets , or of Turner’s agitated seas.
Gardens of light apart from the world. We are perpetual exiles, between the country of the visible and the secret, perhaps that is why our painter creates the terms of the territory of her exclusion by evoking the mirror, and its romantic resonances, that Narcissus returning the gaze, after all, the glass and its quicksilver symbolise the history of visibility, as the artist understands it. The essential meaning of the mirror, Cirlot will say, and its diversity of significant connections, which will explain why it is a symbol of the imagination or of consciousness, an element capable of “reproducing the reflections of the visible world in its formal reality (…) a reflection of the universe” .
Such a condensed image, imago and idea are saved in the works of Cristina Gamón, intermittent images seem to be shaken by subterranean blows, making the expected image capsize as if an image were shifting on itself, like images placed in a permanent state of shock . In such a way that, while contemplating the mandalas and ovals painted by Gamón in the fertile exile of her studio, I thought that a closed cosmic circle could be evoked and that these paintings, these “Espejismos” (Mirages), are to be understood as the revelation of multiplied rooms of consciousness.