Light, Fragility and Magdalena Fernandez’s Art

Somewhere I read that Ezra Pound defined art as a ‘sudden sense of liberation’, a definition I translated to myself not so much as suddenness, or even fulminating emotion of freedom, but more as a surprising and very brief sensation of liberty.

Magdalena Fernández’s art explores just that, because it looks at light. All the tidiness and economy of her visual language, all her very simple and straight moving slightly changing forms, in short, all her works speak of light as basic condition, as prime possibility for the mere existence of art, and so, for beauty as a metaphor for the brevity, the ‘suddenness’ of live. I mean beauty as brief, instant liberation from gravity and weight, complexity and difficulty, from the obscurity, the darkness of normality.

Magdalena Fernandez’s pieces of art are eulogies for frailty and briefness, to the precarious and weak, shortness of light. And here lies the precise importance and value of her work: Light is not just the logical, ‘correct’ opposite of the robust heaviness of darkness, but precisely, light is brief and short, weak and vulnerable, and, above all, fragile.

There is no ‘political’ dimension in Magdalena Fernandez’s art because it refers to a more basic and fundamental political condition: beauty, and light in all its fragility is maybe the most simple, and most clear metaphor for the brevity, the fleeting ‘suddenness’ of human existence. The fragility of light and beauty weight so heavily because it shows us the political weight of art, precisely as a very brief and fragile ‘sense of liberation’, as even the not so liberal Pound recognized.

Veronica Jaffé
May 2008
spanish version