6. Instability

Magdalena Fernández's work welcomes the idea of "instability" or of a "precarious equilibrium" in order to take stock of the ductile, flexible character of reality. In her moving images and structures, reticular formats and figural precision are constantly challenged by the incorporation of unpredictability in the form of flows, vibrations, and oscillations that not only lend them dynamism and vigor, but also bring them closer to their own dis-arming. Visually exploring the dialectic between stability and instability, the artist turns critical attention to modern art's kinetic tradition, observing the dynamics of bodies on the basis of the relationships between force, movement and equilibrium. In these works, we see how, by displacing or modifying the relationships between forces, by altering tensions, the reticular structures are disturbed and agitated, becoming flexible, malleable. They are held in a dynamic equilibrium—or state of rest—that is, an equilibrium that is also a potential for movement, a possibility of mutation.

Whether suspended volumes or sculptures, drawings or videos, the different pieces are presented as weavings made of shaking, vibrating, agitated lines and points, the structures of which are decentered and displaced, visually relating to the energetic transfers that constitute the physical medium of vitality, of everything that grows, sprouts, or acts. Fernández inquires into equilibrium or stability by playing with the sum of forces that act on a structure or an image, offering us dynamic configurations that, in spite of finding themselves in movement, are held at the very limit of stability. She elaborates an unstable stability, or a stable instability, in which each work presents itself as a system with varied states of counterweight, susceptible to being acted upon by different types of perturbations: internal (their own unfolding, in the case of moving images) or external (bodies that encounter or collide with each other, in the case of installations). The conjunction of those different states of equilibrium constantly emerges as new physical states. They thus formulate a wealth of behaviors and a multiplicity of aspects that make possible not only the introduction of the temporal element as a necessary trigger, but rather their understanding from a historical perspective; that is, as the appearance of that which has "not yet been" out of that which has already been.

Indeed, dynamic systems have a history that is given by their own fluctuations, a becoming in which each "moment" is a different, unrepeatable "individuality." In this sense, Magdalena Fernández's works play with instability in order to create irreversible structures and phenomena; that is, in order to elaborate an evolutionary visual universe that possesses the characteristics of life, unfolding irreversibly along a developmental pathway, marked by the constant transformation of systems of connections.


Instability describes a parameter for a reading of Magdalena Fernández’s work in line with those artistic practices that have been posed in the modern context under the question of the schemata of rational models of representation. Whilst the rise of practices and technologies have challenged the ways of rethinking lived experience, Magdalena Fernández's practice suggests an ethical concern with nature that is remarked by the implementation of a system of approximation, chance and indeterminacy. Recalling the figure of Echo might be useful to interpreting Fernández's inquiry into instability because in her work, the inauguration of a new field of investigation begins precisely from the dissolution of Narcissus's image when looking at the mirror of the water's surface. As the artist suggests, the fall, the cracking, the de-construction and de-composition of presence in contact with the surface is essential for a new configuration of nature aimed at exploring the inherent, structural aspects of an image in its endless repetition. The instability provided by the choice of immaterial materials allows the artist to explore nature ‘by virtue’ of its internal necessity and structural components. The dissolution of representation reclaims a chance for nature to resonate as an active agent of artistic configuration. A new equilibrium emerges from the instability that pertains to both experience and structure. Points, lines, and planes amplify the potential of abstract, minimalist, kinetic and concrete movements with the purpose of re-evaluating the intuitive, creative, virtual aspects of experience by addressing a new equilibrium that is subject to repetition, re-enactments, and transformations.


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