Inhabitants of the Void
Inasmuch as it is the fruit of an idea, the artwork contains content; it is incorporated in susceptible, excitable forms which invite us to untangle the polysemy understood within it, the richness of the embedded idea. But upon trying similar fruits, extracted from a tree whose genetic memory strikes up de-hierarchized, autonomous relationships, freedom chasers arise in the viewer’s consciousness, the principle of contradiction, as Jorge Fernandez Chiti says, “Law that governs all design, artistic praxis, and the system of forces that makes up all works of art. It is based on the ‘law of opposites,’ which, in philosophy, is thought to be the driving force of all forms of life and existence.”
Once the main idea of the interpretation of the pieces is established, we could say that for sculptor Mónica González Tobón, a graduate of the Faculty of Art at Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, her work –geometric figures made with stainless steel and cor-ten steel, molded through industrial processes– is an exhaustive exercise of reason and sentiment which seeks to transcend the human condition by reproducing order and three-dimensional logic that can be found in everything that exists.
As the heir of the abstract movement that arose in the 20th century, particularly of the Basque school, with figures like González, Oteíza and Chillida, as well as the Colombian school, with figures like Negret and Ramírez Villamizar, the relationship between the planes, formal synthesis and the void, turn out to be elements that define her style. Furthermore, the operations of contention of the movement within the balance, exhibiting it outside, as well as the production of forms unaware of the force of gravity, are the technical adversities that move her.
But also, for González Tobón, the legacy comes from the pre-Columbian symbols found in archeological remains, mainly from Peru, her place of residence. These belong to the embodiment of the sacred, whose design coexists with geometric and arithmetic rules derived from observing the stars. It is important to note that in America’s native cultures, what is ethical and aesthetical are entirely in unison, therefore, in said symbolic geometry there is always mystical-political will present that is condensed in form, like an expression of cosmic order, where every element of reality is interconnected.
This mystic will, connected to the cosmos and geometry contained within it, also uses lines of continuity based on movements like the Suprematism in Russia and De Stijl in Holland, which were essential for the subsequent abstract trends. And by also being the Utopian intention, the fundamental drive of these early movements emerged from the work, another pursuit, also distant in time and spatially closes at the same time: Latin America, a land conceived by an ideology of the future that triumphantly places it a priori in the universal history book. It is a utopia that leaves a secret void behind it, an encrypted memory.
However, deciding on the content of the being based on an idea, thus triggering a difference within it, before solidifying a feeling regarding time, woven in the coexistence of historical facts. It hurls the American being into a future that hasn’t been revealed by experience; it isn’t found in the books, it hasn’t been recorded, it doesn’t take part in anyone’s memory; it stems from nothing, it doesn’t exist. Instead, the void is a condition for the emergence of volume and its design; it is a condition to provoke movement and its control. In the interstices of the forms, the movement of historical beings is recovered two-fold –inasmuch as doubly encrypted memory– in González’s sculptures.
Bringing the conscious past (anamnesis) to memory, recovering a memory hidden within the subconscious (cryptomnesia), are operations activated in the artist’s creative process; they are those which cast their movements in space throughout time, their contents in the achieved void, balanced out by volume. There reside the Hispanic beings that made the emergence of American land possible, the beings that used up their historical sources to establish conquering a future, the pre-Colombian being, quashed and forgotten by those before him, as well as the contemporary transformation of Western culture, through a Latin American passageway.