9. Space as a Place for/of Experience

These object-events are realized at the limits, at the edges of the objects (things, elements or presences) that constitute them. They are inescapably relational, and have the particularity of being made "spacedly"—that is, they come out of appropriating a space to the point of constituting it as a "place," as a site or a situation. The relational condition is the substitution of one structure (of a delimited, closed composition) by a process: whether this be by an ensemble of formal, signifying or discursive tensions, or by a set of forces that consolidates its "propositions" and "meaning" in the encounter of some other discourse (that of art history, for example). As processes, as ensembles of tensions, they are always engaged in tendering a great quantity of elements that are external to the work, as a result of which the elements that make it up are diversified, unfolding in pluralities of meaning. I call this relational condition "spatialization" because, as in the experience of space, it happens as a relational system that proceeds through proximities and inclusions, by theoretical or material contiguities, and in which even contradictory things finds modes of confluence and integration. In this sense, these object-events are, properly speaking, potential structures, made up of tendencies and tensions that are realized as a particular, irreducible "situation" of signification. This capacity to be made site and situation turns Magdalena Fernández's works into entities of a sort whose dynamism can be understood as an impulse toward de-distancing (to recall Heidegger). In other words, each element that composes them operates as an instance that is de-distanced from the others as well as from its surroundings or context. Each element operates as a sign, a direction, a potential and a capacity to recuperate or appropriate something external to itself.

They present themselves, then, as a "place" belonging to the world, to the physical and cultural context in which they are exhibited, to the history in which they are found, to the social and cultural conditions in which they occur. Magdalena Fernández's practice constructs places in which she brings together "that which is held in common," a milieu of imaginary opening in which any subject whatsoever—anyone—can feel included, participating in it and making it his, her or their own. She creates situations, events or aesthetic artifices that reclaim both the participation of the gaze and that of the body, an experience at once sensory and reflexive, because the body in its totality—our lived and living bodies—is what recuperates all the ambiguities and discontinuities of existence, because the body is what is set in motion and made attentive.


The almost theatrical setting of Magdalena Fernández’s site-specific works, installations and video-installations is relevant to a new mode of configuring experience through the opening of an ethical space that is characterized by its concrete, structural, and relational qualities in response to specific contexts. For Fernández, the mastering of space becomes a gesture in which the vocabulary of abstract composition is thought in relation to the texture of social contexts. This is evident in the series Corporal mobile painting, which includes the triptych consisting of 1pmc019, 2pmc019, and 3pmc019 (2019), wherein Fernandez proposes a way of framing experience through a ritual that aims at purifying space by rediscovering the energy of the field while establishing a sense of community. The squared frames of her videos document a ritual event that happens in the form of three casted circles composed as a chain of human relations that perform and celebrate a new experience of space. The frame and the circle become here the figures that circumscribe a ceremony enacted by a community in the process of approaching the field to receive bread, water, and candle lights, while involuntarily tracing a heterogeneous movement within a cast circular place. By rethinking these geometrical figures in relation to social context, Fernández’s videos enact an ethics of space that is engendered by the gesture and the dynamics of social contexts.

Similarly, in the site-specific works at Museo Amparo, Fernández draws attention to the modularity, rhythms, and connectivity that a space can suggest. It is the void that the artist intends to reconfigure through an excavation of the very essence of space in order to become receptacle, establishing a continuity between the inner and outer aspects of the museum’s architecture, space and surroundings. Rather than positioning a form, Fernández allows the existing space to be rethought as a technology, or a structure that follows a rhythmic composition through the repetition of modular schemes and the connectivity of points, lines and spatial extensivity. In her spatial investigation, the chiasmus between the virtual and the real reoccurs to suggest the affirmative aspects of dwelling, or the affirmative function of ‘being in space’ to remark an ethics of belonging and coexistence. The reticular installation at the Vestíbulo requires the viewer to traverse and interact with Fernández’s work and suggests a mode of appropriating an event that is abstract and simultaneously experiential. Infiltrating space between voids and figures, the reticular installation becomes the receptacle of an experience that addresses a new abstract, relational, geometrical order for the viewer to traverse. For Magdalena Fernández, aligned with the legacy of concrete art, space becomes an engendering practice, like a reflective experience and a mode of thinking that culminates, it could be said, with the installation at Museo Amparo, wherein the artist situates a work that mirrors the altitudes of the sky through a rhythmic geometrical composition that reconnects humans with the surrounding environment.


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